You think you are saving time. The clock is ticking, so you call out to your children, “GET YOUR SHOES ON!” while you search for your keys. Then, “SHOES ON, EVERYONE!!!” again while you pour coffee in a travel mug. You grab your purse and yell, “SHOES! NOW!” While you put your own shoes on, you see everyone’s shoes still sitting by the door. Aghhhh!
We all do it. Remote parenting is simply parenting from a distance. It’s neither pleasant nor effective, but for some reason, we do it anyway.
One day, I was hollering from the kitchen for the seventh time for the kids to wash hands and come to the table for supper. I was SO annoyed that they were completely ignoring me even though I “just knew” they could hear me. I finally threw down the dish towel and marched down the hall.
That’s when I saw my daughter tiptoe across the hallway from one bedroom to another. She was wearing fairy wings, carrying a wand in one hand, and clutching a small toy in the other. I followed her into the dark room where her sister was pretending to sleep in the bed. The little fairy quietly slipped the toy under her pillow and turned around, surprised to see me.
I was instantly humbled.
These little ones weren’t trying to drive me crazy. They were caught up in the wonderful magic of childhood. When I asked if they would wash their hands to come eat, my daughter said, “Ok! Hey, mom! We are playing tooth fairy and….” Bubbling over with excitement, they proceeded to let me have a glimpse in their beautiful world of imagination.
The gift children bring to our world is that they don’t watch the clock. They don’t have a never ending list of things they need to get done. They live wonderfully, magically, and undeniably in the present.
When your children are not listening to your requests or need redirection, you might find yourself just barking orders from wherever you are. That’s remote parenting.
It’s time to stop.
Leave your own rushed world and go into theirs for a moment. It’s as simple as walking over to your child. Get close, kneel down to eye level, and in a calm voice, let them know exactly what you’d like for them to do. You can put a hand on their shoulder, gently take their hand, or even ask for a quick hug or high five. Not only is it highly likely they will listen the first time, but you’ll strengthen your relationship with them through loving touch and a calm voice. Like all people of any age, children prefer to be treated with dignity and respect. If my husband barked orders at me, you better believe I’d have a problem with that. Yet, I find myself thinking it’s ok to do to my children.
The reality is, I save no time by giving directions from a distance. I was just making everyone frustrated. The kids were frustrated by all the commands and thought I didn’t really mean it until at least the fourth or fifth time. By the time we needed to leave, I was always just so freaking mad that “no one listens in the house!” Not exactly how I want to start the day with my kids.
When you stop remote parenting, you start modeling to your children what it looks like be a calm and patient person, even if something is not going your way. You are using the same respectful tone of voice you’d like them to use when speaking to you.
You CAN stop remote parenting today. Just go to your child and connect. The only thing you have to lose is the frustration. You have everything to gain…including shoes on everyone’s feet when it’s time to go!
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