You’ve got a spirited child. (That’s putting it lightly!)
Everything feels like a power struggle. Your kid won’t do what you say. It’s wearing you OUT.
Luckily, “Mom Mentor” Michelle Den Boer has some tools for you.
Michelle is the proud mama of a spirited child herself. It took her a lot of hard work to figure out how to get onto the same page as her son. She wanted her family life to be one of enjoyment and ease, not arguments and struggle.
So she developed unique and unexpected tools (Alexa, anyone?) to make parenting fun.
In this week’s YBTV interview, you’ll learn how to work with your child to manage big behaviors, discover some parenting tools you can use yourself, and listen to some honest talk about the struggles of being a mom.
What You’ll Learn
Michelle Den Boer thought parenting was easy.
She sailed through parenting with her first. Today, he’s a strapping 24-year-old, and Michelle couldn’t be prouder.
She couldn’t be prouder of her 9-year-old, either. But he’s a completely different kid to his big brother.
“I always say that my first one was very black-and-white, and my second is gray and purple and blue and red,” she jokes.
When you have several kids, they’re never the same. You’ve got your easy kid, and you’ve got your hard kid, and what worked with the easy kid doesn’t work with a hard kid.”
Her “little prince” taught her to re-evaluate everything she thought she knew about parenting.
Tools for Parenting a Spirited Kid
The problem with parenting is that “we’re not given a manual. We’re given this beautiful baby, and [it’s] ‘Okay, goodbye! Good luck!'”
Michelle could have used a manual with her second child. But she was fortunate have the support of her son’s therapist as she learned novel ways to manage the power struggle at home.
Whereas her first would do as she asked, her second wouldn’t do anything unless he thought it was his idea.
Instead of fighting him, she learned to reframe requests.
Instead of telling him, “Get dressed,” she learned to say, “What do we need to do before the bus comes?”
She’d even use Alexa to set reminders. Her son didn’t mind it when Alexa, rather than his mom, reminded him it was bath time.
Another tool that helped Michelle was laminated charts.
When her son was young and not speaking yet, she took pictures of everything he might want or need. She cut them out, laminated them, and put them in an envelope. When her son needed something, he could pull out the appropriate picture and show her.
The cards helped develop his vocabulary, but more importantly they helped ease the frustration of not being understood.
“A huge source of frustration for kids is not being able to communicate,” Michelle says.
“I think sometimes we live in such a language-centric world that we forget that kids are actually very sensory. They use their senses to perceive the world.”
Good Kids, Big Behaviors
Michelle began to wonder why all moms weren’t taught these tools.
“I feel like these tools really need to be accessible to everyone, because we have our kids for so little time in our home. Why not enjoy it and be able to embrace that time, instead of having that constant struggle?”
Part of the struggle stems from labeling a child’s behavior as “bad” or “inappropriate.”
Michelle prefers terms like “big behaviors” or “spirited” or “passionate.”
“The language is so important, because our kids hear us talking about them,” she says. Our voice becomes “the inner voice they’ll be hearing for the rest of their lives.”
It’s about “treating them the way that we would want to be treated, because they’re people, too.”
When the Student Becomes the Teacher
Today, Michelle’s son shares his favorite tools on Wisdom Wednesdays in Michelle’s private Facebook group for moms.
“When we teach, we learn,” Michelle says.
Recently, her son got to demonstrate how to use EFT, or tapping.
EFT is “is tapping on the acupuncture points and putting in positive affirmations. It’s another way to reframe your neurological pathways,” she explains.
“It’s so, so exciting to see him sharing those things, because then I know that it’s really helping him, too.”
Get the Tools for Yourself
If you’re interested in finding out how these tools can help reduce the power struggle at your house, Michelle has put some basic tools together in a free ebook, Empower Your Kids to Make the Right Choices.
“Being able to come together with other like-minded moms and be real” is so nourishing, she explains.
Moms need to be able to talk about what they’re going through without feeling judged.
The first is a Thrive through the Summer coaching program that goes from June 28 to August 20th.
The second is a two-day masterclass from June 22nd to June 23rd.
“I believe that being a parent, being a mom, is the most important thing that we can do in this world,” she says.
Trust yourself, but don’t be afraid to reach out for support. We all could use a helping hand.
Michelle Den Boer
Michelle Den Boer is a mom mentor, fitness/wellness coach, inspirational speaker, author, and, most importantly, a mom. She believes in empowering your kids to make the right choice and let go of the power struggle. She’s created a safe place where moms can come together and support one another in her Moms Nurturing Moms Facebook group. She also shares some of her strategies, tools and ideas in a free ebook, Empower Your Kids to Make the Right Choices.