Parenting Advice is one of those things that comes up in conversations with other parents. It’s like a natural part of being a parent, where we want to help when we hear of any challenges someone may be going through with their child.
Sometimes it’s really helpful and its something you have already heard before, but other’s it is something you really didn’t want to hear. However, when it comes direct from the mouth of an children’s expert you feel a lot more comfortable receiving the parenting advice.
I met Rebecca on Instagram when we participated in a motherhood giveaway together and I was inspired by her posts. I have been talking to her a lot about challenges I have with parenting and there is always one key thing everything she suggests boils down to, and it’s me, the parent.
It’s my behavior that can change things. It sounded bizarre to me at first, but the more I think about it the more I understand.
The more I see that the way my parents raised me, has a lot to do with how I parent and the person I am today. And this will be how I raise my own children. So if there’s any parenting advice you want to take in today, please take a few moments to see what she has to say in my interview with her below.
This is the first interview of a series I will be starting so that we can gain from the many experienced, knowledgeable mothers out there who are experts in their own fields.
Tell me a bit about yourself and how you got into the Parenting Field?
Hey everyone! Salaam. My name is Rebecca. I always knew I wanted to be three things when I grew up: a wife, a mother, and a teacher. I’ve been a wife for a few years, a mama for about a month, and I’ve been studying and working in the field of education for the past 15 years.
I studied and earned my Bachelors and Masters in Education as well as a specialization in something called Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. Throughout my teaching career and time working with children, I’ve always been drawn towards helping those parents and children who struggle with managing behavior.
Part of my role as a Special Education teacher has been to support children during times of emotional or behavioral crisis. One of the parts I’ve enjoyed the most about my career is supporting parents.
I love teaching them about behaviors, what to look for, how to respond, and what they can do to best support their children at home and at school. Over the years I’ve been fortunate and able to help hundreds of families but recently realized that I wanted to do more.
This desire has led me to create my own online behavior management course, the Confident Parenting Plan, which I will be launching later this Fall, InshaAllah.
You recently became a Parent, how would you say your life has changed?
I have always been a very driven individual, wanting to do as much as I can, helping others, achieving personal goals, trying to make an impact wherever I may be. In other words, I was always used to be on the go, productive, and busy.
Now that I have my son, I’ve learned that it’s okay to slow down. I am no longer measuring the success of my days by how many tasks I can check off my list. Which is a very good thing because there have been days when the best thing I can do and the best place I can be is in my bed holding, snuggling, breastfeeding, and loving my son.
I’ve always considered myself a loving person but I had no idea my heart was capable of such intense, unconditional love.
Is Parenting a skill people just adapt to or do you think expecting Parents should take a course before they become a Parent?
This is a great question. We start learning as soon as we enter this world. Actually, we start learning even before that. Did you know that babies learn to recognize voices and touch while still in the womb?
This learning continues as children watch how their parents parent and this becomes our first example and model of what parenting should be. Behavior is learned, which means we learn from watching the behaviors of those around us, positive or negative examples.
I believe that parenting styles and family dynamics change from one generation to the next. And while we may love and respect our parents with our whole hearts, there may be some things that they did that weren’t the best and that we want to do differently. All examples, positive and negative can be great teachers.
I would encourage parents or those wanting to become parents one day to stop and think about the role models and experiences they’ve had. Take that a step further and really think about what kind of parent you want to be and what characteristics you want to embody.
Parenting is the most important job in this world. The responsibility we have to raise a child, knowing that our performance (parenting) has implications for the rest of their lives is overwhelming.
It is my wish that parents knew how great a task this is and that they take the time to invest in themselves so that they can be the best in their role as parents and see their children succeed.
Attention seems to be the Number 1 reason why kids tantrum would you agree? How do you advise Parents transitioning to more than 2 kids to manage that especially when they have toddlers and younger?
Attention is definitely one of the biggest motivators for children. It’s as if they are hard-wired to seek it. Something many parents don’t realize is that attention is such a huge motivator so much so that if a child can’t get positive attention then they will intentionally act out in order to receive negative attention.
What this means is that if a child wants mommy’s attention but she’s busy, he’s more likely to hit his brother or do something negative so that mommy will yell or scold him. To a child, negative attention (yelling) feels better than no attention at all (being ignored).
The best way to combat this fact is to schedule in quality time with your kids every single day. While this may get tricky with more children, take advantage of nap times to squeeze in 10 minutes of alone time with your kiddo.
Make sure it is distraction free (put away that cell phone) so that you can enjoy and bond with your child. When you satisfy your child’s need for attention, they’ll be less likely to act out and display problematic behaviors.
What do you think is the secret to managing a toddler meltdown/tantrum in public?
Staying calm. As hard as it is, the best thing we can do when our children are upset is to stay calm. Negative behavior is a normal and natural part of child development. Our children are learning what’s appropriate and what’s not and that times time and practice.
Tantrums are going to happen and when they do the best thing the parent can do for that child is to stay calm. Our children feed off of our emotions. If they see that we are calm, we are giving them a positive model to follow. We’re also showing them that we still love them despite some actions or behaviors that we may not care for.
During the tantrum, it’s best to use as minimal language as possible. When our children are in the middle of an agitated emotional state, they’re not rational or capable of comprehending long, drawn-out sentences or conversation.
Use short, direct statements in a calm voice and follow through on whatever consequence you’ve set. If you told them that if they fight with their brother you’re going to the car and they fight with their brother, you better be going to the car. Our kids need to see that we mean what we say. This consistency will help decrease nagging and repeating yourself over and over!
What parenting advice do you have for mothers who struggle with young kids & clean up?
Cleaning up should be a shared activity for the first few years. What’s wonderful about our children is that they have an innate desire to please us. We can use this to our advantage by giving them attention and letting them know how much we appreciate them being mommy’s helper.
Once kids are a little bit older, you can use something called when/then statements. “When you’ve picked up your toys, then you can have your snack.” In this example, you’re placing a preferred item or activity after the demand which will encourage the child to complete it. If they don’t pick up the toys, they don’t get the snack. When. Then.
If you were to give someone one piece of parenting advice on how to successfully parent what would it be?
The biggest factor in changing a child’s behavior is changing adult behavior. If we want our children to love and respect us then we need to show them the same amount of love and respect. What this means is if you don’t tolerate your child yelling at you, then you shouldn’t be yelling at your child.
Parents are a child’s first and primary teacher. Children learn so much just from watching us. They watch and learn how we handle anger and frustration, how we speak to other people, how we interact with others.
If we expect our children to control their behavior then we need to do the same. We have the power to change our child’s behavior by making small changes to our behavior.