Most Dads look forward to Father’s Day, don’t they? The one day in the year when it’s legitimate to quite simply put your feet up, chill out and enjoy having a bit of a fuss made of you by the rest of the family.
On the face of it, it doesn’t sound like it’s difficult to achieve but as we all know, children’s natural exuberance and energy can often mean that a Sunday at home is anything but peaceful and certainly not quiet! All too often I hear stories of how what should be a happy family day suddenly turns into a bit of a nightmare as behaviour goes downhill and everyone ends up cross with each other.
Follow these tips to ensure a Happy Father’s Day:
1. LEAD BY EXAMPLE: If you want your day to be happy and relaxed, then remember to show everyone else that this is how you are feeling. As a family, we all feed off each other’s energy, so don’t waste a single second of the day and tell everyone how pleased you are to be with them. The more love and gratitude that you put out, the more will bounce back in your direction.
2. GET CLEAR ON WHAT YOU WANT: You can tell the kids to “be quiet” – but what exactly do you mean? Your child may not know or completely understand. Is it total silence that you’re after or just less noise and running around? Be more specific in your request and you’re more likely to get a result.
3. SAY WHAT YOU DO WANT, NOT WHAT YOU DON’T: If you want a child to do something, it’s more effective to put your sentences into the positive, staying away from any negative words. Look at the following examples. Both are essentially seeking the same result, but the first version will be more successful in that outcome every time.
– Let’s leave things nice and tidy will produce a different result to saying: Don’t leave the room in such a mess.
-Remember to walk slowly is better than: Don’t run.
– Let’s sit at the table as quiet as mice today rather than: Stop making so much noise.
4. MATCH YOUR TONE: When kids are making lots of noise, parents usually find they have to start shouting just to get their requests heard. But the louder you get, the louder they’ll get too, for the tone of your voice will be leading them in the wrong direction. There’s a great technique called “Matching, Pacing & Leading”: Start by matching the tone of your voice to the sound of your children, even if you just say something like “whoa, there’s a lot of excitement today, isn’t there”. Keep this up for a few moments so that you ‘fall into step’ with them. Then gradually start to alter the tone and speed of your own voice. Start slowing down, lower your tone and begin to speak more quietly and you’ll notice that the kids gradually start matching you and your behaviour – you’ll be ‘leading’ them in a different direction.It’s a much more effective way of creating a change in behaviour – and without needing to shout and yell at them!
5. DON’T ASK SILLY QUESTIONS: Most of us have fallen into this trap when tensions start to run high. I’m talking about those daft things that we can say in the heat of the moment. You don’t really want an answer to these, do you?
How many times have I told you not to do that?
You don’t listen to a word I say, do you?
Why can’t you be more like your brother / sister / friend?
Why do you always have to make such a mess?
You can’t sit still for one minute, can you?
See how many grey hairs you’re giving me?
Alicia Eaton is a Behavioural and Emotional Wellbeing Specialist and also a parenting expert. She’s the author of best-selling books: ‘Words that Work: How to Get Kids to Do Almost Anything’ and ‘Fix Your Life with NLP’.