Every day in our household we try to make an effort to put a lot of energy into our Greetings, Goodbyes and Goodnights with our children.
This is one of the strategies from our parenting courses that we teach parents about strengthening our relationship with our children. It’s also a form of discipline. Positive discipline. Something we can do to help our children to behave. What do I mean help them to behave? Well let’s go back in time to how I used to greet and farewell my children before I did a parenting course.
The Morning started with a great big “HURRY UP WE ARE GONNA BE LATE!!!” My kids were pushed into the car where it was a rush to school followed by instructions like “DON’T CRY MUMMY WILL GET YOU AFTER SCHOOL.” Or, I would walk them to the class and when they were distracted try and leave before they would start to cry.
Goodnights were treated with the same ‘courtesy’. It was usually an announcement like “HURRY UP WE NEED TO READ YOUR BOOKS AND GET YOU TO BED.” Followed by “STAY IN YOUR BED, OR ELSE!”
My greetings goodbyes and goodnights that I used with my children always had the same results. In the morning my children were unsettled and hard to get to school and at night they moaned and cried saying they were scared of the dark. What was going on?
Gordon Neufeld * says that we need to enhance our Greetings, Goodbyes and Goodnights to ease separation and maintain the connection with our children while we are away from them. This lowers their anxiety and helps them to behave.
After learning this strategy, I began to do things differently. I woke up earlier and really tried to put a lot of effort into my greetings when they woke up and goodbyes when I dropped them off at school. It took a while but I noticed how my children’s behaviour improved. They were able to go to school without much of a fuss and when I put an effort into saying goodnight they even stayed in their beds. It really hit me how important this strategy was when I looked at the clock and both my girls were asleep by 8.30.
I had to go in and check just to make sure they were ok because I couldn’t believe it worked.