The Great Duct Tape Experiment
I read a recent article about newest parenting book, Duct Tape Parenting: A Less Is More Approach to Raising Respectful, Responsible, and Resilient Kids by Vicky Hoefle, and became inspired.
As a parent coach, I clearly understand how parents grow misbehavior in their children, and some of those most common parenting techniques are nagging, threatening, reminding, begging, and giving in to demands. The more parents nag, for instance, the more deaf a child becomes to the parent's voice. The more deaf the child becomes, the more the parent nags...and the cycle continues!
In Duct Tape Parenting, the parent is invited to literally place a band-aid (safer on the skin than duct tape) over his or her mouth (during, say, the morning routine or another charged parenting time) so that the parent stops overmanaging the child. By stopping your part of the cycle, the child's behavior improves, he or she experiences real consequences, and begins to feel truly competent and relevant.
So, I tried it!
Here are some of my take-aways from what I learned from The Great Duct Tape Experiment:
1. Training, training, and more training. In order for your child to become more self-sufficient, the parent must take time to train the child! From pouring cereal to setting tables to loading the dishwasher, teach your child how to do these activities during a quiet and calm time.
2. Have faith. In counseling, it's called "fake it till you make it!" It means you have to go out on a limb and believe in your kids! Trust that they are ready to take more and better care of themselves!
3. Pay attention to how much would be interfering otherwise! Everytime you want to say something (and cannot because of the band-aid over your mouth!), bring your awareness to that! There were so many moments where I thought, "Wow! I really want to tell my five year old to get her shoes on...again!" See how you handle it without all the talking!
4. Have fun! Yes, it is an experiment and it can be challenging, but be open to learning and have fun with it! Everyone will enjoy it more.