Make them wait for everything!
Two of the most powerful questions you can use as a parent!
In the last two articles, I said to remember these three words as a parent - SCARY, HARD and BORING.
Today I am going to finish with the last word – BORING.
It has been said by many that in today’s instant gratification world, young people have developed an attitude of entitlement and impatience. Any wonder why when it seems like children can get everything and anything they want almost instantaneously?
I have been obsessed with one driving question - “What is missing?” What is missing in the raising of our children today? One pretty obvious difference in our technologically advanced, fast-food world is they rarely have to wait or get bored.
Here is a very simple way for you to put the priceless experience of boredom and delayed gratification back into your child’s daily life. Just learn then practice using these two simple questions every chance you get. Bottom line – Make your child wait for everything starting at a very young age.
Here are the two golden questions – “Can you wait a second?”and “Can you do this first?”
Okay, let’s get to how to use them. When your child wants to interrupt you. When they want something. When they want your attention. As long as it is not an emergency, make your automatic response “Can you wait a second?” Then, especially at first, come right back to them 5-10 seconds later with something like “Oh Joey, thank you for waiting so patiently. What was it you wanted?” Later as you use this more and they get better, make the waiting period longer. Make it a practice to stop giving them what they want right away!
Also, know that boredom teaches three very valuable skills lacking in young children today – curiosity, creativity and most of all, resourcefulness!
Now to how to apply the second powerful parenting question. First, know the way to develop discipline in a child is to teach them how to “do things they do not want to do” without arguing, negotiating or even thinking. High achieving and highly successful people can work hard at things they are not good at or do not like doing. Whenever your child wants or asks to do something they want to do, ask they to do something else first.
Make it simple and easy in the beginning. For example, if they want to leave the dinner table early to get back to watching a video say “Okay, but can you help me clear the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher first?” Or, if they want to play their video game you can say “Sure, but can you give the cat some water and food first?”
Later, as they become accustomed to this delay and request to do something less appealing, you can up the ante. When they want to play outside in the summer with friends you can say “Okay, but can you do your 30 minutes of reading (or help me cut the grass) first?”
Try it. Then practice it. These two parenting question will make your child stronger every time you use them. They will learn to wait and to do things they do not want to do. Can you just imagine your child doing both the second you ask them and without hesitation?
Don’t give your child what they want. Give them what they need.
Yours for stronger kids,