Last week, my mom sent me “The One Minute Mother” (book). We all know that parenting never takes a minute, it takes a lifetime. Yet, the book revealed three ‘secrets’ that a parent can do if they want to be a “one-minute mother or father”. In essence, if you live by the three “secrets” (which each only take about a minute) you’ll have happy children and be more relaxed and confident in parenting.
I think the three ‘secrets’ are applicable to any important relationship, so read on as I share the goodness. It’s already making a different in our house.
1) One-minute goals: Two goals are made weekly–“I” goals and “we” goals. We had our first family meeting on Saturday to discuss. Since Micha and Luca are young, we made visuals for them (on a 4×6 flashcard). Luca’s is a smily face, a stick person sitting on the toilet and another smile face after that. (We are potty training him.) Micha’s is similar except for she’s sleeping in bed instead (We are working on better sleep for her.) My “I” goals took a minute to write out: Run 3 times. Write my PF blog. Use 1 minute praisings and reprimands . The “we” goals were to clean out the closet on the main level and get some frames hung up. (We’ve been wanting to do both for a while and will confirm it’s done next week 🙂 )
The tricks to the goal-setting is that if they are short enough and you write them down you can reread the paper frequently, therefore making sure you accomplish them. We have four 4×6 flashcards on our kitchen island and we’ve all read our “I” goals 5-10 times. The kids, surprisingly, pick theirs up, look at the pictures and talk about them. Another trick is that you write your goals positively: “I will run 3 times. I am going to write my PF blog on Monday.”
Short, reachable goals get met. Keep it simple and you’ll be effective.
2) One-minute praisings: This is the best one and the most important. How many times do we want our kids, spouse or someone else to act differently? When we want to change behavior, we tend to complain or point out the negative behavior because we think highlighting it will help one see how to change. WRONG!
Lots of one-minute praising WHENEVER you see a behavior you LOVE is the way to go!!! There was a quote in the book: “When children like themselves, they want to behave themselves.” We all do. We know what’s right and wrong and if someone constantly praises all our “rights” we’ll want to keep doing more and more. The example in the book really stood out. The mother’s son came home. She asked her son if she could see his report card. He timidly walked toward her and handed it to her with his head down. He had 2 As, 3Bs and 1D. The mother’s face lit up and she said, “I am soooooo proud of you! Look at this report card. You have almost all As & Bs!!” This was not what the son expected. “So, I can go outside and play for an hour?”, he asked. “Honey, you can go outside and play all afternoon! This is great!” The woman visiting the mother was shocked. “What about the D!?!”, she asked. (I, too, thought the same thing.)
The mother went on to explain that last report card, her son had all Cs. Instead of focusing on the one negative, she chose to recognize all the hard work her son had put forward and point out that in fact, he had almost all As and Bs. “Of course, we’ll discuss the D later, but right now, I want him to celebrate all the hard work he did and feel good about it. He’s already feeling bad about the D–you could tell when he walked in.”
This blew me away. It made me think of all the times I ignore the good and tackle the bad. That doesn’t make anyone feel good. All last week, I praised Micha and let me tell you how much I LOOOOOOVE to see her face light up and her stance beaming with pride. It makes all the difference–no matter what relationship you’re in.
Don’t forget to recognize, praise and celebrate the good stuff!
3) One-minute reprimands: Just because there’s a lot of praising, doesn’t mean unacceptable behavior gets ignored. There are, however, two very important parts to the one-minute reprimands. The first 30 seconds are where you let your true emotions show: “I am sooooo angry that you drew on the wall! I feel totally disrespected and am really frustrated that you drew on it again, after I told you last time that you are not allowed to draw on walls!” You say the strongest emotion and you say it near your child, close to their face so they can feel the emotion you’re verbalizing, “I am soooo angry right now.” Then you pause and let it sink in.
The second part of the minute is ESSENTIAL (and often the part we forget). You take a deep breath, and pull yourself together. Then you touch the child in some way (either on the shoulders or hug them–whatever’s natural). “I love you so much and you’re such a great artist! I just wish that you could draw your beautiful work on paper instead of the wall. You are so talented at making spiders and if you draw them on paper we can hang them on all the walls. Please respect our house and don’t draw on the walls anymore. I want to see your artwork everywhere but on paper, okay? I love you and I know you won’t draw on the walls anymore.”
The second half of the reprimand is important because we are attacking the behavior and not the child. We need to separate the two to prevent damaging one’s self-esteem. We all make mistakes and we all learn but we need to be assured that we are okay, it’s what we did that was wrong. The touch component is necessary too. There’s something about physical touch that comforts and confirms what your words are saying. If you have your arms crossed as you say the second part, no kid is gonna think you really love him.
Attack the behavior and assure the person!
That’s the gist of one-minute parenting. Simple enough, right!?! Three truths that are effective and achievable by even the busiest of beings. As kids get older you teach them how to do #2 and 3 because we grown-ups make mistakes too or we may not realizing we are doing something that bothers the child. As long as we can teach our children how to be respectful of us but share their feelings, we continue to empower them. The one-minute mothers in the book shared how their children had helped them realize things they weren’t aware of doing and change for the better. Let us not forget that children can be the best of teachers if we show them how to do it well.
I really enjoyed learning these three ‘secrets’ and hope they can help you. The beauty is that there are easy to remember, take little time and have a lasting effect. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Happy one-minute working for you this week!