Most of my articles come from real-life experiences, and this one is no different. I had just gone 15 rounds with 3 of my kids trying to get them to school on time, and I was worn out. It seemed to me that this had been a pretty regular thing lately, and I started thinking to myself “What am I doing wrong?” My mind went down that path a little way, but not too far, since that way was looking like this might be my fault. So, I took a little detour off that path and thought “Maybe I’m expecting too much of them for the age they are”.
There we go! That was a much easier route for my mind to take, since it didn’t involve anyone being at fault, me or them! Cool! I figured I’d just get out my trusty Total Transformation workbook, find the section on age appropriate expectations, and I’d get my answer. (By the way, I refer to that workbook and the Total Transformation CD’s often – they’re starting to get worn out!)
I did find a section on age appropriate behavior, including age appropriate consequences and age appropriate rewards. (I discuss this a little further down in this article), but what really caught my eye was a section on styles of parenting, and I realized that this applied perfectly here. James Lehman, creator of the Total Transformation program, talked about seven different parenting roles that parents play. These roles are generally well-meaning but ineffective because they fail to promote responsibility, accountability, or change.
The Seven Permissive Parenting Roles
These roles are Bottomless Pockets, Over-Negotiator, The Screamer, The Ticket Puncher, The Savior, The Martyr, and The Perfectionist. With titles like that, I had to read further. What I was soon to discover was that I played several of the roles, and I played them well! The one that applied in this instance was The Martyr.
The Martyr takes on the child’s responsibilities, constantly lowers expectations, and fears that the child will experience unhappiness or distress. I could see myself perfectly in this role, and I didn’t really like it. The thing I like about James Lehman is that he says it like it is, most of the time it’s just good common sense, but when you’re in the middle of the battle with your child, common sense doesn’t often come in to play. Too many emotions flying around the room, it really helps to hear and see what Mr. Lehman has to say.
If you want to read more about the different parenting styles, click here.
Now, to get back to age appropriate behaviors, consequences and rewards. Here’s how Mr. Lehman sees the different age groups.
Ages 5-9 – At this age, children are interested in time with parents and other adults. They are beginning to establish some independent relationships with peers, but often need some adult support with this. Age appropriate consequences include going to bed early, losing TV or computer time, and going to their room. Rewards could be staying up late, earning stickers, and having someone do a chore for you.
Ages 10-14 – Children at this age are just beginning to struggle with a sense of themselves. In addition, they are practicing independence, while still requiring a great deal of parental supervision and support. Connections to peers are becoming primarily important in their lives. Judgment can be poor when an older teen is offered choices and activities. Consequences might be losing TV time, being grounded from activities, or losing phone time. Rewards include use of cell phone, gaining computer time, and getting to choose the food for dinner.
Ages 15-17 – At this age, adolescents must be working on independence. Priorities center around peers and young adult activities. They are trying new things and building new skills. Most of the motivators at this age, both positive and negative, center around the car – being able to drive it, or being banned from it. Others include loss or gaining of phone time, and computer or TV time.
That all sounds great, but my kid’s not there! How can I get him there?
Don’t lose hope yet, there is help out there. And yes you can do it!
Click here to get some great workable ideas. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.