When things are going off the rails, give your child a redo.
No wait, give your child (and yourself) a redo. THAT is where the magic is.
Yes, your child will occasionally act like caged animal and embarrass you in public, or behind you while in the middle of a zoom call.
That’s just an annoying reality of parenting.
My son is Aspergers and he also has ADHD, so there have been roughly ten thousand times in the last nine years where his emotions, and my emotional regulation, have clashed.
A couple years ago his behavioral therapist suggested I offer a redo.
Of course this conversation happened after our kind-hearted therapist talked me down off the ledge, during a particularly trying day in first grade where my son had punched another kid during kickball.
Her advice was so simple I really didn’t think it would work. She said it right in front of E, which in my mind, meant he was even less likely to take me seriously the next time things got heated at home.
But it turns out those highly trained, expensive in-home therapist know what they are talking about.
GIVE Your Child a Redo
I know you are thinking, “what kind of redo? What is this woman talking about?”
A redo can be handled in many different ways. The type of redo you give your child depends very much on the situation.
Here are some scenarios for you to ponder:
Your Child Makes An Unreasonable Demand
Around here this takes a form something like this, “MOM – I want a snack!” Screamed at me while jumping on the furniture. Some days it sounds more like this, “MOM- you forgot my snack!”
This type of behavior irritates the crap out of me. Which often leads to me shouting, “I am NOT your butler!” Which then leads to more screaming….and things go downhill quickly.
My new solution – I say, “Do you want to try that again?” Works like a charm.
Your Child Refuses To Do Something
In other words, your child is flatly refusing to follow directions. This could be overt or more indirect, but either way your feathers are getting ruffled. Particularly if you have made the request more than once.
My son absolutely loves to take his sweet time when I am trying to get out the door in the morning. In the past I would tell him, “You need to get your shoes on so we can get going.” He would basically ignore me, and start playing with something.
Now I give him the option of making a better decision. For example, if he ignores my request that he put on his shoes, I give him a few minutes of wait time and then I say, “have I given you enough time to respond to my request?”
This is gonna sound crazy, but he rolls with it. In fact he will thank me. No really, he thanked me for the time I gave him to respond to my request.
Your Child is having a Tantrum
When my son has a meltdown it usually comes out of nowhere, so it’s hard to plan what to do and how to react.
Generally, as a parent I prefer to be proactive and not reactive, so the whole tantrum thing throws me for a loop every single time. And yes, I have been known to have an adult temper tantrum now and again.
The other day my son asked if he could play on the Switch at approximately 5:30p.m.
I told him I thought it was a bad idea because Dad was going to grill, and I was trying to get ready for dinner. I suggested he throw the tennis ball for the dog now, and perhaps he could play a game after.
He shouted, “You don’t like any of the things I like.”
You’ll be proud of me-
I took a deep breath and said, “Do you want to try again?”
And he did. He said he felt like I didn’t like anything he likes. And then he apologized for screeching at me.
Most of the time he modifies his behavior on his own. This is pretty remarkable considering how poorly he reacts to any sort of correction or redirection. E is not a kid who regulates his emotions well.
The most important thing I have learned about parenting is that I have to model the behavior I want to see.
Sometimes we all need a redo.
Instead of yelling, I am removing the tension from the situation. Sometimes I offer choices.
I don’t waste time threatening or negotiating.
My expectations are clear but kind. My son and I are experiencing better communication than we ever have before. I actually feel more in control than I have in a long time.
We all need a redo from time to time. No shame here.
So what do you think of giving your child a redo?
Would this strategy work in your home?