So what are some of the core strategies of Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting?
Descriptive Praise – the most powerful motivator for children. When parents start using Descriptive Praise, their children want to listen and be cooperative. This skill is about noticing what children are doing right and very specifically describing that behaviour. It’s not how parents usually praise. They normally lay on the superlatives, like “Well done”, “Brilliant” and “Terrific”, but this praise is too general, vague and exaggerated to be meaningful to kids.
With very specific praise, such as, “You finished your homework before asking to play video games; that was responsible,” children’s ears perk up, and it motivates them to do more things right.
Preparing for Success – the most effective way to reduce children’s resistance to almost anything and to prevent most behaviour problems from happening in the first place. With this tool, parents learn specific ways to help their children succeed – to do things right – instead of reacting with irritation when things go wrong.
Reflective Listening – once parents begin using this almost magical way of responding when kids are angry, frustrated or anxious, the strong emotions that ignite misbehaviours can literally melt away.
Never Ask Twice – the six step method to achieve cooperation. As parents follow these common sense steps, they can say goodbye to nagging, repeating and reminding and say hello to first time cooperation.
Best of all is that these strategies improve not only cooperation, but also confidence, self-reliance, motivation and consideration – five qualities that all parents want their children to develop.
As parents follow the specific action plan in each chapter, they can transform family life within a few short weeks. Loaded with success stories from parents, examples, parent-child dialogues and Q & A, this book gives parents a complete road map to achieve Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting.
THE CALMER, EASIER, HAPPIER PARENTING PROMISE:
“Based on my experience helping tens of thousands of families, I can make this promise: You will see improvement in your children’s behaviour within a few days (and for some families within even just a few hours) when you start using the Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting strategies. If you continue to practise these strategies, within two to four weeks you can positively transform your family life.
It doesn’t require super-organised, exceptional parents – just people who are willing to try a few new techniques.
And there’s nothing to lose except the stress of continuing to deal with the same behaviour challenges and the guilt that comes from repeating, nagging, threatening and shouting!” Noël Janis-Norton
How does it work?
Here’s a snapshot of how mornings might begin for a five year old boy before and after his parents learned these strategies. Mornings are the most difficult time of day for many families – when parents feel rushed and stressed trying to get everyone out the door on time.
'Jimmy! You’re still in bed?? We’re going to be late!’ Ten minutes later his mum returns. He has his socks on and nothing else. ‘You’ve been up for ten minutes and you only have your socks on? What have you been doing all this time? You’ve got to hurry now and don’t forget to make your bed.’ Five minutes later she returns and he’s got his shorts on and he’s playing with a toy. Her frustration grows. ‘You know this is not playing time!’ She impatiently helps dress him and makes his bed because time is short.
Jimmy gets up from the table constantly during breakfast. ‘Jimmy, sit down and eat. If you get up from the table one more time, breakfast is over.’ He gets up again. ‘Jimmy, I mean it.’ He gets up again. ‘OK, that’s the last warning. If you get up again, I’ll take away your TV time after school.’ They race through other morning tasks and leave the house in a rush. Jimmy is silent in the car and his mother is feeling annoyed and stressed. When they get to school, she drops him off and says, ‘Have a great day!’
Now let’s take a look at how mornings could be after Jimmy’s parents have been using the Preparing for Success and Descriptive Praise strategies so that he now does what he needs to do in the morning, most of it without being reminded.
Jimmy gets out of bed when the alarm rings, puts his clothes on that he laid out the night before and makes his bed. When his mum comes into his room to greet him, she says ‘Good morning’ and he smiles and hugs her. She notices what he’s already accomplished and mentions it: ‘Jimmy, you’re remembering to do so many things – you’re getting up to your own alarm, you’re getting dressed without any help, and you even make your bed now without me reminding you! You’re becoming very self-reliant!’ Jimmy smiles.
At breakfast, Jimmy eats without getting up from the table and clears his bowl without being asked. His mother takes time to notice and mention that he’s helping to keep the kitchen tidy. As they are ready to leave the flat, she notices that he doesn’t have his backpack. She doesn’t get annoyed; she just gives him a little clue. ‘Jimmy, there’s still something to remember that you’ll need for school.’ Jimmy looks around, sees his backpack and runs back for it. They leave early enough to get to school on time. They chat during the drive. When they get to school, his mother gives him a big smile and says she’s looking forward to seeing him after school.
Too good to be true? Not when parents have the right tools. Imagine how much calmer parents could be in the mornings if they had this level of cooperation and self-reliance. They could easily accomplish their morning tasks, they wouldn’t feel stressed or frustrated, and they would actually have time to enjoy their children. Thousands of families who practise these strategies have experienced this transformation, improving cooperation, confidence and self-reliance.
CALMER, EASIER, HAPPIER PARENTING AT WORK IN FAMILIES
Putting the “Never Ask Twice” method into action
Since parents report that one of the most frustrating and stressful things about family life is how many times they have to repeat themselves before their children listen, they are quite eager to hear about a method that can achieve first time cooperation!
Many parents find that it is only when they finally lose patience and start shouting that their children comply. But all the repeating and shouting create a very negative home environment. Parents are desperate for a better way. Enter the “Never Ask Twice” method.
- There are six very simple steps in this method.
- Stop what you’re doing, go to where your child is, and stand and look at him.
- Wait until your child stops what he’s doing and looks at you.
- Give your child the instruction – clearly, simply and only once.
- Ask your child to repeat the instruction back to you.
- Stand and wait.
- While you’re standing and waiting: notice every step in the right direction (Descriptive Praise) and acknowledge how your child might be feeling at the moment (Reflective Listening).
Here’s a fascinating thing about this method. Parents rarely have to go beyond step three before their children go and do what they ask. In fact, often they don’t even have to go past step one! Why? Because the first key step is so respectful that children will respond differently. It’s not what they are used to their parents doing.
Parents tend to skip this first step and shout orders from another room or up the stairs. But if another adult did that to us, wouldn’t we feel irritated and resistant? It’s not surprising that children want to ignore parents when they’re treated in this way.
Step two generally works without much fanfare. It’s natural human behaviour to look up at someone when they walk into a room.
Now comes step three, telling your child what you want him to do, simply, clearly and only once. This is where Never Ask Twice gets its name. Most children will comply at this point if parents didn’t skip steps one and two.
But if their child hasn’t complied yet, they can go to step four and have him repeat back what he needs to do.
In the unlikely event that he still hasn’t started to cooperate, go to Step Five, which is to stand and wait. That usually does the trick. It shows intentionality. Parents aren’t walking away to finish cooking dinner.
By this time, most children will start to cooperate. But if not, go to Step Six, which is:
While standing and waiting, just Reflectively Listen and Descriptively Praise any steps in the right direction:
(Descriptive Praise) “You’re starting to pick up the pieces.”
(Reflective Listening) “It’s hard to stop in the middle of a game.”
Sooner than parents believe, if they persevere with step six, their child will cooperate. Parents are floored by how well this positive and respectful method works!
CASE STUDIES FROM CALMER, EASIER, HAPPIER FAMILIES
One of the biggest “family flash points” is sibling fighting. It can make even the most patient of parents lose their cool. Parents are anxious to learn how to help their children bicker, tease and compete less and enjoy each other more.
These condensed case studies from the book show how parents have used the core strategies of Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting to transform sibling relationships.