Posts Tagged: Alyson Schafer

Your Child Refuses to Wear Underwear – Is That So Bad?

Boy, you think once you’ve gone through potty training your nightmares are over. But recently, I had an email from a mom asking me what to do with her 4-year old who refused to wear underwear.

Well, all you Adlerian trained parents who have taken courses with me, are you thinking back to the theories you’ve learned to answer this one in your own heads?

I guarantee there are no journal articles written by either Dr Dreikurs or Alfred Adler on this exact situation, but here is how I pieced my answer together:

  • I asked myself what is the usefulness or social benefit of the behavior? Probably she gets into a fight with mom and so this could be a power struggle.
  • If it’s power we ask ourselves to divest our personal power and authority and instead try to look at things situationally. What are the TRUE needs of the situation?  Well, gosh, why do 4-year olds wear undies? I agree they must cover their private parts, but if they are wearing pants or leggings or opaque tights, does it really matter to anyone else if they have panties on underneath?  If it doesn’t bother the child and she is covered, is this something we need to busy ourselves over?

I think not.

What say you?

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Make a lunch kids will eat

You might know what’s best when it comes to your kids’ lunch. But if they aren’t eating it, who cares?

We have all seen it: That uneaten and mushed sandwich, mustard bleeding through the pores of compressed slices of bread. The apple decomposing at the bottom of a backpack. A mysterious and empty potato chip bag floating between homework papers.

Parents often struggle with the lunch game. Packing five meals a week for the kids is not always easy to manage. The misconception is that micromanaging this tricky task will produce healthier results.

While nutrition is important, so is eating. Experts say that getting your kids involved and having them participate in packing their lunches can tackle an important part of the school year and hopefully bring home empty lunch boxes.

This really speaks to self-sufficiency. They ultimately need to know how to take care of themselves and one of the tasks that we need to do is make ourselves lunches.

Banana or apple? Chicken, turkey or veggies? Yogurt or cheese? Children can be picky, but giving them the power to decide what food comes out of the fridge and into their brown bags is a powerful example of ownership. By taking part in the lunch packing process, their choices are recognized as something they want to eat.

Young kids get really excited about getting the bologna from the fridge and putting it on the bread and getting the mustard and smearing it on, because they are making their sandwich. A lot of parents will think if they pack the lunch, kids are going to make poor choices, but it’s actually a great opportunity for parents to teach about food. You can put the Canada Food Guide on the fridge, or whatever food policies you are following, and say ‘do we have one thing from the protein, two things from the vegetables?’, so that you are able to show them what balance looks like – and yet they still get selection.

Timing also comes into play. Mornings can be rushed, while preparing in the evening is asking a lot of pre-planning from a busy family. The idea is that you find the formula that works best for you and if you find doing it the night before is better – great! If you find doing three lunches in a row and keeping them all pre-packed and in the fridge is going to work for you, then great! It’s all about thinking creatively about how to do it better so that it’s not a stress point.

This can also be great chance to get some quality time in with the kids while you take care of the task at hand.

Don’t forget, being rushed or grumpy about picking out a piece of fruit or the filling for a sandwich is going to rub off on your kids. If you put on some great music and you show that it’s supposed to be fun time, things will unfold in the spirit of that. What you are really trying to do is get yourself out of a job. Eventually you are going to wake up in the morning, read the paper and have your coffee and your kids are doing everything on their own, which is what you want. No rushing, no hassles because you have spent time doing the proper training.

Some reasons why food returns home:

  • Too much food. Sometimes parents have no idea that they put so much food in their child’s lunch. If it’s coming home, it’s because you are over-packing.
  • Lunch is boring. There are a lot of fun ways to get kids to actually eat. They have these great little things called bento boxes that have come out of China and Japan and they are great because it is a way for food to look fun, be fun, but still be small, reasonable portions.
  • Timing is everything. Some schools have a policy where the kids eat and then play. In those schools, kids take two bites of their sandwiches because they want to get out and play. It’s the only time they are allowed to socialize in school now, because everything is about learning and desk work, so they get very little free play and they want to get to it. In schools that flip it around and say you can play first and then eat, kids eat much better. So you might actually be curious about what is going on at lunchtime, because it may not just be appetite, it may mean that the school schedule is against them. You may want to see if the school wants to try something a little bit different.
  • When and where they eat. A lot of kids don’t want to eat in public. They find it a private thing, like going to the bathroom, so sometimes it takes them time to feel comfortable.

I would lay off and pack a little less and trust that over the course of 24 hours and 7 days, most kids manage to compensate and get it in at other meal-times. It’s probably ineffective to nag, it’s just going to hurt the relationship and it won’t really bring about the change you want.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Bedtime Potty Training: Using the Toilet After Tuck-ins

The Situation

I recently received an email from a distraught mother who complained that every night after tuck-in time, their 3 1/2-year-old daughter would call out, “Mooooomy, I have to go peeeeeeeee” even though she was put on the potty right before tuck-in every night.

The Way I See It

I suspect that this 3 1/2-year-old has discovered a behavior that mom can’t ignore.  She thinks, “If I’m thirsty or I’m hungry, mom might be able to disregard the complaint.” But what kind of parent wouldn’t respond to a toilet-training-tot when they cry out they need to pee?  After all, we don’t want to be inconsistent. We don’t want to take a step back in bedtime potty training. We don’t want them to be wet all night. So we go and put them on the potty again.  No doubt there is a small conversation, an additional tuck-in kiss, maybe even a song.  It’s really a very social experience for the child.

(Note: This late-night bonus socializing is the “usefulness” that sustains the nightly behavior that we need to address in finding our solution: undue attention-seeking.)

The Immediate Solution

Lose the “payoff” or social benefit of these extra night-time potty visits mom is making by teaching the child self-sufficiency.

During the day, take time for training (T.T.F.T.).  Show your child how to pull their own pants up and down, and practice wiping themselves. You might find wet wipes are easier for kids than dry toilet paper.  They can wipe first and then you can be the “checker” until you are satisfied they have the manual dexterity to get the job done properly.

Once they have this skill, you can put night lights in the hall and explain that they don’t need to call you to go to the washroom: “You are so capable! You can go to the toilet and tuck right back in all by yourself!”

You may also opt to simply leave a potty in their room with some wet wipes and hand sanitizer (again, after some T.T.F.T.).

Some children find this new limit exciting and want to test it out. However, after a night or two, most children prefer to void before bed since they no longer have a successful stalling/attention tactic, and they just get on with going to bed.

The Long-Term Strategy

As with all the behavior guidance tips, you’re not going to have long-term success unless we solve the unmet goal of feeling encouraged. Every child needs to feel secure about their worth and place of belonging in their social group (the family or classroom).  That means parents need to bring on the encouragement and connecting time with our children during those times when they are not demanding our undue attention.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Related Posts with Thumbnails