I felt so confused, frustrated and even embarrassed about the whole thing.
I started questioning myself. Was I a bad mom for making her go when she didn’t want to? Was I a bad mom if I didn’t make her go? What would happen if I let her quit? What would we do next? What if it happened with the next activity? Was there something wrong with the way I was parenting? Was there something wrong with her?
While I was wondering about this, she continued this pattern of throwing tantrums on school days. I eventually just took her to preschool anyway, kicking and screaming. As soon as we arrived, the tears stopped and she ran joyfully to the sand table
I made a decision. I’d tell her teacher what was going on. Maybe she could help me understand.
I had a conversation with her teacher that impacted me for the rest of my child-raising years.
I asked, “What’s going on? She loves it here but she cries, throws fits, and makes getting her here nearly impossible. There’ve been mornings when I’ve just laid on the floor next to her and cried. I don’t get it!”
Mrs. O’Brien looked at me compassionately, with the wisdom of years of raising children--her own and those in the preschool.
She said, “Robin, do you value this activity for your daughter?” “Yes”, I said. She asked, “Is she safe here?” “Yes, of course!” I responded. “Do you want her to be here for all of the benefits this gives her?” Again, I responded with a yes.
“Then”, she continued, “you have to decide. She’s a little girl. She doesn’t know what’s best. Only you know what’s best and what you value for her. She’s testing you. She loves being here but she wants to know what it will take for you to give in. How far will she have to go to get you to change your mind? Once she knows your breaking point, she’ll use her behavior to get what she wants any time she wants it.”
I sat quietly. How could a 3 year old be smart enough to test me like that? So the question really was, am I committed to having her here? I was.
Once I understood, I made a plan. I would ignore the tantrums. When she cried, I’d still put her shoes on. I’d still put her in her car seat. I’d drive her to school even as she screamed in the backseat. I wouldn’t explain my reasoning to her. I simply say ‘we’re going.
To be sure, it wasn’t easy. But I held my ground most of the time.
Eventually I had four kids so I got a lot of practice in learning to make sure I picked activities I could commit to and staying out of big emotional battles by intentionally ignoring negative behavior (i.e. tantrums).
I knew that I must keep going to keep my kids from developing the habit of quitting for any or no reason at all. I wanted to raise kids that mastered skills, achieved their goals and grew in confidence. I wanted them to develop character and become capable, contributing adults.
Over the next 25 years, as a coach & teacher, I got to help other parents and teachers in my music & dance studio understand what was really going on with kids who wanted to quit (basically all kids!). I got to help them:
Evaluate their chosen activities
Identify their goals
Understand what commitment to activities looks like
and then deal compassionately and effectively with upsets
I’ve been excited and blessed to see the results of my decision to raise my own quit-proof kids. My kids are all strong and capable and know how to stick with whatever they pursue.
I’ve also been able to see hundreds of kids from my studio grow into fully capable adults all because their parents went on the journey with me to raise Quit-Proof kids.
This is the reason I developed the Raising Quit-Proof Kids Roadmap. The concepts work. They've been used successfully by hundreds of parents for more than 20 years. It's the secret to raising kids who know how to stick with anything and grow into amazing adults. Now you can learn the secret and raise a great, capable kid and have more peace in your home.
Learn how to identify the mindsets, attitudes and actions that lead to the battles with your kids. I'll show you exactly how to make the changes that stop them now and give you more peace and harmony in your family.
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