Parenting Tip of the Month

From the Parent Project’s “Loving Solutions”

Couch Parenting

We have all seen it and we have probably done it. The “Couch Parent” yells at his or her child to stop doing something, from the sofa. The child fails to listen to his parent. Instead of getting off the couch, the parent either yells at his child again, ignores his child’s response, or warns the child, again, to stop the behavior.

If the rule is worth making, it is worth enforcing. Likewise, if a parent finds it necessary to ask a child to stop doing some behavior, it is worth getting up to ensure that they actually stop. Redirecting unwanted behavior begins with our willingness to “get off the couch!”

The Danger

When children refuse to follow a parent’s request, but we, as parents, do not force the issue or move to a Set or Self-Limiting Time-Out, we unintentionally teach our children that they do not have listen to us. In turn, children naturally fail to listen to other adult authority figures as well. The “Couch Parent” makes life harder for daycare workers, teachers, bus drivers and crossing guards. This translates to behavior problems in school and in the community, and sets the stage for more serious problems when children become teenagers. Parents must win this battle – the earlier, the better. The teenage years are just around the corner. Young children who learn not to listen to their parents and take them seriously, are unlikely to listen to their parent’s later warnings about: drug use, sexual acting out, violence, youth gangs and other highly destructive adolescent behaviors.

“When parenting, if you find yourself saying, ‘This is easy,’ you’re probably doing it wrong.”

– Author Unknown