Ever experienced moments of utter despair when your child did something they knew was wrong? Or maybe you have felt the frustration of your partner undermining your parenting… And maybe your decision making let you down (possibly more than once) when you did something you regretted and really don’t want to happen again.
The good news is…
Today I’m going to share with you a life skill you can use to combat all of these problems that I call:
“Advanced Decision Making”
This is a life skill that can help you with your parenting in so many different ways. And here are just a few:
- It will help you prevent the sense of overwhelm, anger and frustration – particularly when things go wrong
- You’ll feel a lot more relaxed because you will have more clarity, and
- It’ll help you stay a lot calmer in general because you have more certainty
There are 3 tips I am going to share with you around decision making. They are:
Let’s explore the first tip…
Prevention is Better Than Cure
As parents, making decisions in advance will allow you to prevent future misbehaviour.
Did you know there are four main categories of misbehaviour? And one of them is demand-seeking misbehaviour (discover more about managing the 4 misbehaviours in my short course here).
Let’s use an example of our child who every time we go into a shopping centre, throws a tantrum because they want something bought for them. Well, by simply applying the concept of Advanced Decision Making we can let the child know that we are aware of the type of misbehaviour prior to going shopping and discuss alternatives with them in advance. We can also discuss some of the consequences in advance.
As a parent, we may also be able to think about some different ways that we can distract our child in a positive way.
So, there’s an example of how to use Advanced Decision Making using the concept of prevention is better than cure.
The second tip is:
Respond Rather Than React
We should always be aiming to respond rather than react. And what I often say to people is:
“When we react, we tend to react in a negative way. But when we respond, we respond in a cool, calm and collected manner.”Brad Everton
The goal is always to respond.
Let’s say for example our children are pushing our hot buttons by:
- constantly nagging (think of a toddler repeatedly shouting “mum, mum, mum, mum, mum” over and over again)
- our teenager diminishing what we do for them and angrily telling us what bad parents we are
- one of our children blaming the other for bad behaviour just to get them in trouble
What can you do to respond instead of reacting during these situations?
The key is to remember that when you start to sense yourself becoming annoyed, see it for what it really is and choose to respond rather than react.
It is easier said than done.
But it is also a matter of conditioning ourselves to the concept of responding.
It’s also recognising when our children push our hot buttons that there is often a motive behind the behaviour. And our job is to determine what that is.
The problem is reacting makes it a lot harder to do that.
So, using the concept of Advanced Decision Making – if you have pre-determined how you will behave in certain situations, it allows you to respond versus react.
The best thing is…
You’ll find this will give you a sense of calmness and peace of mind because you have things in place. And, it also allows you to stay in control of yourself.
This leads me to the third tip, which is:
Master Your Self Control
Another great idea is to have a Plan A and Plan B. This will allow you to be more organised because you’ll have already thought through more than one option, which will give you even more self-control.
And the fact is…
Self-control is something we are all looking for.
Because if we feel as though we have options, it allows us to feel we are in control of the situation, and that also helps us to respond rather than react.
So, if Plan A isn’t working, we can always resort to Plan B.
If telling your children “play nicely with your sibling” is not working (Plan A), then you can get them to do something different and suggest they both go and sit down away from each other and read a book (Plan B) as an alternative (this is another strategy I suggest in On Track Parenting called How to Use Time and Space to Manage Conflict – Page 91).
This will help you as a parent to practice self-control because you have already thought through the game plan in advance. And part of your game plan is to resort to Plan B if Plan A is not going the way you want it.
NOW HERE’S A BONUS DECISION-MAKING TIP…
Advanced Decision Making is a learnable soft skill.
What I encourage you to do is learn the skill for yourself and apply it into your life. Then share the concept with your children.
The first part, in terms of utilising the skill of Advanced Decision Making, is to identify different areas you can implement this concept.
Just take a few moments now to come up with ways you can use it in your personal life or how you can use it in your professional life. Because the more you are able to use it, the better you will become with it.
That’s my tip for today – Advanced Decision Making.
I encourage you to use it. I encourage you to play with it. And, if you adopt and embrace this strategy in your life… it will pay dividends in many ways for the rest of your life.
May you have a great day,
Brad Everton – International Author and Psychologist
Committed to empowering those connecting with my message through the power of excellent mind tools, tips and strategies.
P.S. Feel free to pass this blog on to anyone who you feel might benefit from it.
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