13 Parenting Hacks For Getting Your Child To Behave

Because it gets expensive to keep bribing them with candy.

October 16, 2015

Why You Should Say No To Kids’ Gift Registries

Do you get annoyed by super-expensive wedding gift registries? Especially when you’ve left it to the last minute, and all that’s left is a $500 cutlery set?

RELATED: Best Kids Themed Birthday Parties

Brace yourself, poor beleaguered parents – kids’ birthday gift registries are an increasingly popular new trend both in Australia and overseas.

Many upmarket small children’s toy and clothing stores and gift shops now offer the wish list service, as do big retailers like Myer, Amazon and Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us.

Other top-end kids’ stores have started offering expensive “bespoke baby hampers” with just the right styling lest you – gasp – commit the cardinal sin of not purchasing the perfect baby gift.
So, have kids’ and babies’ birthday parties gone too far? Or does a gift registry actually help frazzled, time-poor parents?

How would you feel if you received a kids’ birthday party invitation, with a gift registry which included over-the-top, expensive gifts? Of course, this is the norm in la-la land, whereby Hollywood celebrities wouldn’t think twice about buying kids exorbitant and outrageous gifts, such as diamond-encrusted dummies (pictured) and/or a mini Ferrari worth US$25,000.

kids gift registries, parenting, parenting advice

I was recently shocked, when shopping for birthday gifts for my youngest toddler who’s turning two, at some of the super pricey items stocked at a local, small retailer who specialises in cool and quirky kids’ gifts. The store also proudly displayed a sign saying it offered kids’ gift registries.

And then when my three-year-old toddler who had accompanied me started eyeing off a gorgeous, expensive-looking tulle tutu dress in the store, sans price tag, I knew it was time to make a hasty retreat.

“How much is this pretty dress?” I asked the sales assistant, as my three-year-old made a series of small, delighted squeals and on-the-spot twirls while admiring the dress.

“It’s $350,” said the snooty sales assistant, “And handmade,” she quickly added, upon seeing the frown on my face before I speedily escorted my toddler out the door.

Now, I’m not immune to occasionally spending a fortune on my small people, but that’s a bit steep for a kids’ dress she’ll quickly outgrow, if you ask me. And I don’t care if it was handmade by silk worms! I promptly took my little one to Big W and got her a $30 tutu dress she was equally enamoured with.

kids gift registries, parenting, parenting advice

It’s a sentiment shared by Dr Karen Phillip (pictured), who’s one of Australia’s leading relationship and parenting experts.

The counselling psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist, international author and keynote speaker, who’s based on the Central Coast of New South Wales, advises parents against setting up expensive kids’ birthday gift registries and buying super-costly children’s gifts, in general.

“Instead of buying a $350 dress for a child, or putting it on a kids’ gift registry, parents should think: ‘For $350, I can improve my child’s mind,’” Dr Phillip says.

“I don’t like kids’ gift registries personally due to the ramifications of the pressure parents put on themselves and their kids.

“The children’s expectations of themselves become escalated and then they crash and burn in their adolescence.

“I’m referring to their expectations to aspire to, not just gift giving, but expectations of behaviour and achievement – to have to be the best achiever, attain perfection and be good-looking.”

kids gift registries, parenting, parenting advice

And gift registries also greatly negatively impact parents,” Dr Phillip says. “I believe gift registries put unfair expectations on parents and often people can’t afford it – it just takes away from parents.
“People think: ‘I’m letting my child down’. It’s awful!

“And everything is measured against who bought what from the gift registry; it cheapens the process of gift giving.

“A gift registry for a wedding is practical, but a kids’ birthday gift registry for anyone under 16 is rubbish! Kids’ parties can turn into an absolute shemozzle because of the expectations and expense.

“Parents can’t afford it [kids’ gift registries] and some get angry and then the children get offended by the parents’ talking, because the walls have ears, and then the kids fight at school and they get ostracised and bullied.

“It’s also really sad for the kids having the parties when no one shows.”

Dr Phillip says it’s crucial parents instill a sense of gratitude in their children. In addition, open discussion between parents pre-parties was one way to take the stress and expense out of gift giving.

“It’s a good idea for parents to advise other parents of what their child is into or likes as this aids gift purchase,” she says. “So, advising what interests the child is wise without selecting gifts for purchase [via a registry], which may be construed as arrogant.”

kids gift registries, parenting, parenting advice

Mum of two, Erina Natho, 35, from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, who has four-month-old and two-year-old daughters, is not a fan of expensive kids’ birthday gift registries either.

“I would never do it, personally,” Mrs Natho says. “I think anything creating a big expectation in our kids is not good.

“They should get excited by the small things, like a book or a toy, not a big, expensive gift registry.

“I don’t want my kids to miss out on anything either, but then I think about my own childhood, growing up in the 80s, in a single-parent household. I grew up knowing where everything came from, as everything was laybyed.

“These days, kids expect too much. I used to make my own fun! What’s wrong with paint and a bit of imagination?”

While the busy mum concedes kids’ birthday gift registries would prevent parents from doubling up on gifts, Mrs Natho agrees with Dr Phillip that it’s preferable for parents to talk to each other about what kids actually need before buying gifts.

“If I was faced with an expensive kids’ birthday gift registry, I’d probably go: ‘Wow, you know what? I’m going to go get what I want’,” she says.

“At the end of the day, it’s about the joy of giving and the sentiment involved.”

For more information on Dr Phillip, visit www.karenphillip.com.au.

What do you think? Are kids’ birthday gift registries a good idea or an unnecessary evil?

Images via www.lifehacker.com.au; everydaylife.globalpost.com; newsfeed.time.com and www.bornrich.com.

March 25, 2015

Shared Care Tips For Separated Parents

Millions of separated or divorced couples share care of their kids. For many of these people the kids are the only reason there continues to be a connection. Yes, it would be easier to remove them from your life, but if a parent wants to be involved in the care of their child and is capable of doing so, personality differences or your past relationship baggage should not hinder this. You both need to find a way through your emotions to make it happen.

Negotiation of shared care over school holidays, special events like birthdays and Christmas, can be an opportunity for yet another heated argument. Rather than needing each negotiation to be heard before the courts or witnessed by mediators, you both really need to find a positive way to keep the peace, specifically for your children. If either parent can’t get past this, the damage you are both doing to your children may be irreversible. Therefore, we have some tips for you to keep in mind when dealing with your ex.

Tip 1: It’s not about you and it’s not about your ex. It’s all about the kids you have both created and doing what’s best for them. It’s that simple.

Tip 2: Make any negotiations like a business transaction. Keep emotions out of the decision making process.

Tip 3: Be fair and open to compromise.

Tip 4: Don’t abuse, argue with, belittle or put down your ex to their face or in front of your children. Your children are a combination of the two of you and therefore they feel like you are also attacking them or don’t like aspects of them. If you need to vent, do so well away from your children so they don’t overhear you.

Tip 5: The kids love you both, so you need to let them in their own way. If they want to give something to the other parent or be with them, encourage it. If children have a healthy relationship with both their parents, they are far more likely to be able to have healthy relationships when they get older.

Tip 6:You are role modelling their future relationships. Always be aware of this and provide positive role modelling.

Tip 7: Find a way to negotiate with your ex for shared care. Many people send simple text messages like “Picking the kids up at 6pm Friday and I will bring them back at 6pm Sunday night.” It’s all facts with no emotion.

Tip 8: Some people find the change over an extreme issue. There are a few options you can organise:

  • Both of you have a mutual family member pick up and drop off
  • Changeover in the car park of the local police station
  • Changeover somewhere with security cameras
  • If the children are old enough, stay in your cars and let the children swap vehicles

Tip 9: Remember above all else, to keep your emotions in check. If you feel baited; walk away, hang up; whatever. Don’t be the one to bait or look for that argument, either. Instead of making it as difficult as possible for the other parent, make this as easy as possible for your kids.

Tip 10: Every decision you both make should be about your children. If your ex doesn’t get that, no amount of arguing is going to change it. Be polite, do what’s right and ignore their bad behavior. If they are looking for a bite and you don’t give it to them, they will eventually stop and get on board with doing what’s right for the sake of the kids.

If they don’t change, understand that you can’t alter their behavior. (This may be why you separated?!) Don’t argue about it. The kids will see what’s happening and everything will take care of itself as they get older. They will know that you have tried your best and put them first above all else.

Image via ogamagazine.com

November 27, 2014

How To Have More Patience With Your Kids

My two-year-old daughter is mastering the art of tantrums. She’s my third child, so by now there’s little that can make me lose my calm when it comes to tantrums. But even a beginner like her quickly managed to find my weak spots. First, she figured out that the best time to chuck a tantrum is on the way to school, especially if we’re running late. When that we started leaving for school 15 minutes earlier to allow for delays, she found the next best thing that was guaranteed to get attention – trying to run onto the road.

RELATED: How To Stay Calm When Your Kids Push Your Buttons

Our children’s behaviour is bound to trigger us sometimes. Most of us have said or done something in anger or frustration that we’ve regretted later. Do you find yourself wishing that you had more patience for your kids? Here are some tips that will help:

Get more sleep

Getting enough sleep is such an easy solution to help you see the world in brighter colours and have more patience that it’s easy to overlook. We forgo sleep telling ourselves that we have important things to do, that night time is the only time we’ve got for ourselves and we’d rather do anything else but sleep. If you’re feeling exhausted (as many parents do) and coming up with excuses why you can’t sleep more, I invite you to challenge yourself just for a week to make sleep a priority and notice the difference.

Take care of yourself

Similarly to getting enough sleep, exercise, healthy food and taking time to do the things you love can do wonders for your overall view of the world, including your children. When you are happy, it’s much easier to see the good side in every situation and maintain your positive attitude even when parenting gets tough.

Believe that your children are doing the best they can

Contrary what it may sometimes look like, your children are not out there to get you just to make you suffer. If you hold on to the belief that they’re good at heart and always doing the best they can, you’ll feel a lot more acceptance for their challenging behaviour. Tantrums are a way to deal with their emotions until they’ve learned to express them better. Pushing boundaries is a normal part of growing up. Experiments that don’t go well are how our children satisfy their curiosity.

Have your bag of tricks ready

Your patience will inevitably be challenged now and then, and it helps to be prepared. What are you going to do when you feel that you’re losing your cool? Breathe? Count to tent? Imagine yourself and your child in a pink bubble of love? Have a few tricks prepared ahead of time, so that you can easily reach for them when you need them.

Remember that you’re not perfect and you make mistakes, too. Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go to plan. Take a few deep breaths, have a break if you need it and gently return to a place of love.

Image by PublicDomainPIctures via pixabay.com

November 18, 2014

How to Control Your Child’s Behaviour

From temper tantrums to chores…controlling your child’s behaviour can be nerve-wracking, to say the least! You know you should set boundaries, but you also believe in positive parenting, so how do you juggle both responsibilities? From screaming kids in the supermarket to constant arguments over bedtime, Karen Phillip has the answers.

With over 20 years’ experience as a mother, family counsellor and family dispute resolution practitioner, Karen Phillip has released her new book ‘Who runs your house? The kids or you?’ Read on for Karen’s top five tips to make life easier for the family:

1. Say yes in a way to still get what you want but to reinforce positive behaviour
‘Yes’ is a great word and can be used to our advantage. Saying yes can deflate a situation because it is a pause word.  When a child hears yes, they have to stop to hear what you are saying yes to. That being said, we should not say yes to things we do not agree with or do not want to give our children. We need to say yes to the part of something to appease their demands. When they ask for a treat from the shop you can reply with “Yes, I can hear how much you would like that treat now, however, not right now, and, yes, I will think about it for you.”

2. Give your child two choices to give them the feeling that they have control of their life
By giving your child a choice on certain matters, you can assist them to feel they have in fact made the choice when sometimes it is more of a direction from the parent. E.g. “You can choose not to eat your lunch and go into your room without lunch or playing outside OR you can eat your lunch now and then go outside to play. It doesn’t actually bother me which one you choose sweetie. What do you choose?” Always remember to place the one you want them to choose last so it remains more in the mind.  By giving the child two choices the child believes it was his/her decision and the child will feel good because they were allowed the opportunity to choose themselves.

3. How to stop and control tantrums
Never give in to their demands, hold your ground! If you cave in and give them that treat that caused them to scream and shout in the middle of the supermarket then you have set the precedent and they will continue to act like this to get what they want. If you see the tantrum about to start warn your child that if they ‘chuck a wobbly’ then x or y will happen and STICK to what you promised.  If your child is throwing a tantrum or acting badly, then put the child in his/her room with the door closed.  Make sure the child has nothing to play with.  If the child continually tries to leave the room, put a lock on the door, YES it is allowed.  This will show the child that you are serious and the child will remember this is the punishment for bad behaviour.

4. Children model behaviour so parents need to be aware of their own conduct
Children are moulded and influenced by their environment.  The general rule is never yell at a child for yelling, never smack a child for hitting and never bite a child for biting.  It is important for children to see people get angry.  However, what is more important is that they see what you do when you are angry and how you manage those feelings and emotions.  This rule applies to your partner, your relationship with him/her and the interaction between you both that your child sees.

5. Ensure you explain clearly and simply to your children the rules, boundaries and consequences
All children need to have clear instructions of what is expected of them.  If you set a rule ask the child what they understand that rule to mean. If they are old enough, ask them if they feel the rule is fair or reasonable.  Rather than ask them to ‘tidy their room,’ which they could interpret differently, instead ask them ‘Would you please pick up all your toys and put them in the correct containers, then place them on the shelf.’

For more information on Karen Phillip and her new book, visit www.whorunsyourhouse.com.

What are your best tips for controlling your kids?

October 4, 2013