Could you imagine if you were to ask your child to do something and they instantly listened and complied?
Probably hard to believe that this is even possible – well it might not be altogether possible, however if you are able to pick your battles that you want to focus on, then knowing what the key battles are, would certainly help.
Of course, how do you choose what you will fight about or which battles you will pick? There are so many important lessons we as parents want to impart. And we find it hard to miss any opportunity to teach.
For me, the answer to picking battles is made easier when I am clear on my values. Here are some ideas of how you can do the same.
Be clear on your values to pick your battles
Prioritise your 3 most important values. It is hard to use this method to pick your battles if you have more than 3. I am not suggesting, you only follow 3 life rules, rather that you choose the values that are most important to you and your family.
Focus on your three core values, because, if you are nagging your child for everything they do wrong or you are continually expressing your disapproval, it will be result in an endless string of negative moments.
Negativity does not boost relationships or grow connections. Instead, it is likely to catapult your child into shutdown or rebellion mode.
Potential Values to Focus on:
- Is it your religious values?
- Is it the way you choose to communicate as a family?
- Is it how you treat people?
- Is it your working towards achieving your goals?
- Is it how you focus on your health?
- Is it honesty?
- Is it respect?
- THE CHOICE IS YOURS!
In my home, I like to call these values my non-negotiables:
- Safety first – I do what I can to keep you and your siblings safe, NO MATTER WHAT. And I expect you to do the same.
This covers a lot – for example:
- Risky behaviours – like avoiding drugs and alcohol
- Risky activities – like not Bungee Jumping or getting in the car with someone who does not have their license or has had too much alcohol
- Being wary of strangers
- Not crossing roads without concentrating or while talking on mobile phone
- Not accepting friend requests from people you do not know on Facebook and similar sites.
- Be kind to yourself and others – TREAT EVERYONE ESPECIALLY YOURSELF, AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED
I include the following in this area
- I expect good manners and gentle behaviour (no pushing, shoving or hurting anyone)
- Communicating in a calm loving way, even when we disagree with the other person, no yelling from the other room
- Being honest shows that you care for others
- Caring for yourself in the best way possible – healthy eating, exercising, going to bed on time (getting enough sleep to avoid being cranky)
- Remembering that it is always easier to be kind than mean and kindness has far-reaching positive ripple effects beyond our comprehension.
- Always do your best – NO MATTER WHAT
- There will always come a time when things are tougher than you thought, more challenging than you anticipated and this is the time to give 200%, not just 110%, because unless you give it everything, you will never really know if you could have achieved what you set out to achieve.
- Take parenting, for example, if there is the slightest chance that you can connect more with your child, do it because you do not want to live with any regrets. One extra moment spent with your child, talking with them, laughing with them or even sitting quietly with them will never be time wasted and the washing will wait.
Discuss and share your values with your kids
Speak to your children, share your priority values with them and explain why these are the most important values for you and your partner. Encourage your child to add or disagree with your thoughts. The more your values are top of mind, the easier it will be to encourage your children to act according to your values.
Ideally, every family member will be clear on what your non-negotiables are. And they will agree to live these values.
Pick your battles with gentle reminders
When your child is not living the values you have taught, gently remind them, that as you have agreed, this is not okay with you.
Offer your child the opportunity for a do-over. This is the chance to do it better the second time around.
Do not allow your child to act in a way that is contrary to your values that you want to be lived in your family.
If your child will not stop what they are doing, offer them the opportunity to walk away and think about the situation and come back when they are ready to discuss the matter. If appropriate, insist that they apologize on their return.
Be sure to hear the whole story from your child so that they know you are hearing them, even if you do not agree. Usually, the behavior is in response to something else. And your child feels heard, he or she will quickly change his/ her actions.
Remind your child why you chose those values for your family in the first place
Stick to your intentions, if it is not okay, THEN IT IS SIMPLY NOT OKAY!
So in short, when you know what your priority is, you can use your values to decide whether or not the issue needs to be addressed, nagged about or even noted.
No matter what, you will know what to focus on so you can pick your battles – the ones that are important to you.
Love to hear how your values affect your parenting
- Do you know what your top 3 values are?
- What are your values?
- Are your values the same as your partner?
- Are you using your values to be the best parent possible?