Expat Brat or NOT…

I really love summer as it means I get to spend quality time with family that I have not seen for the past year in parts of Canada & Austria.

Along with every perk comes a downfall…It is barely August and I am already thinking of throwing in the towel and heading back to the sandpit. I still have over a month of vacation here in Canada, but I am not sure I can make it through!b013952a069b782ffc3da57836772d98Hear my out first…I LOVE Canada & my family! But I feel just awful how my soon-to-be 5 year old is behaving. Like a real WILD child. I don’t know where this behavior has unearthed. WHY always when we come to Canada? My poor parents…my Mom just had a major surgery to remove Cancer and my Dad a heart attack. I am not sure my presence is going to make their recovery journey any smoother with the way things are going.

Ruby keeps having these freak out attacks and crying and screaming when she doesn’t get her way. Which makes me feel like their is something wrong with her, or the fact that she is a spoiled expat brat? Yes, I am shameful to admit that she gets what she wants a majority of the time. But I blame it on the fact that we are expats. The kids don’t get to see their grandparents often and when they do it’s “shower them with presents & candies” time. And double and triple that with the rest of the family. They feel bad when they see the kids crying when they want something and cave out of guilt. They feed them lots of treats because of course this is what Grandma’s do best:) And as my Mom teases, I am a mean mother who never gives my kids candy. Not exactly true…

Ruby & Nate both went to bed back in the sandpit at 7-7:30pm on the dot. Here in Canada… it’s when they FEEL like they are ready. Ruby usually crashes after 10pm now! And that’s in the arms of her grandma or grandpa…GREAT!

To be fair, Nate has been getting his back molars in for the past few weeks, maybe that explains why he is waking up several times in the night to have a bottle? Wait…never mind! He is having 4+ bottles EACH night! Which means diaper changes after each bottle so he doesn’t wet the bed. I am run down. I love being with my parents, but I feel the kids are just out of whack here and it’s NOT making things fun for us!

My parents have not been over the top with gifting or treating them to things since I explained it doesn’t help their behavior. Except the fact that Ruby has managed to manipulate certain situations. She has several bowls of popcorn per night with “hidden treats” inside. The other night she had 5!!! What the heck? She doesn’t want to eat dinner here…but later cries for “treats” that she is so hungry her stomach is crying…This really needs to stop!

I was at my wit’s end last week so I signed her up for a week of dance camp. It was great! I walked her to dance school in the AM and picked her up after 4pm. She was perfect there, listened to her teachers and had SO much fun. Of course when she got home, it was like an uncontrollable puppy. I just can’t put my finger on what is going on her with her.

Something magical happened…

My Mom had the TV on and there was a show about angry kids and stressed out parents. HELLO! That is totally ME! They discussed the benefits of the Australian developed parenting technique called “Triple P- The Positive Parenting Program”.

Here are 10 secrets to positive parenting:

  1. Slow down to pay attention to your child. Physically STOP what you are doing when your child is asking you a question and give them 100% of your attention. All it takes is two seconds of your undivided attention to put what you are doing down and LISTEN.
  2. Kids respond better to positive framing. When you say “Don’t run in the house” it takes them a few seconds to process that you are speaking to them and they only hear “run in the house”. Use positive words instead. If your child is kicking or trying to hit you say something like “hands to yourself” OR “hands off play”.
  3. Ignore your child’s bad behavior. FULLY ignore your child’s bad behavior when they start it. Only give them your attention once they stop.
  4. Give children time to transition to a new activity. Children need TIME to process information. Warn them when you will be changing to an activity. For example “We will be eating in 5 minutes” OR “I will let you watch this show for 2 more minutes”.
  5. Use positive ground rules to manage bad behavior. Simply stated, easily understood, and consistently followed. If your child starts to act up and is doing something they are not supposed to do ask a question framed such as this one: “What’s the rule about leaving the table?” OR “What’s the rule about burping?”
  6. Learn to count to eight before responding. Before repeating yourself after asking your child to do something such as “please put your cup away”…WAIT 8 seconds, it takes the children a few seconds to process the question before they do it. Chances are once you count to 8 in your head, they will be on their way doing it!
  7. Use the ask, say and do method. FIRST you need to ASK your child a question such as “What do we do with the Play-Doh when we are done?”. Then you SAY what the child needs to do next “Do you want to put it in here?”. Then let them DO where you watch and assist them “Lets see you do it”. Followed by praise.
  8. Use quiet time to resolve bad behavior. Give your child quiet time in the area where they misbehaved but away from the specific spot it happened in. Keep them near to you and have them sit on a chair in close distance. This gives them time to calm themselves and find a way to control and regulate their behavior. Don’t use “naughty step” OR “naughty chair” rather “quiet time chair”.
  9. Use praise that describes the behaviour that the child just exhibited. Instead of saying “Good job” say “Good job putting your toothbrush back in the toothbrush holder”. Kids love to hear praise!
  10. Use logical consequences for bad behaviour and STICK to them. You need to stay CALM during this process. Focus on trying to help keep your child CALM. “You are screaming and it is hurting my ears, if you don’t stop screaming you will need to go to your room to scream. I don’t want to hear you scream. Are you going to stop or do you want to go to your room? You want to stop? Thank you for listening”.

THANK YOU CBC Canada for such a fantastic and useful program! Please have a look at the videos here for further examples (HERE)

I will be trying out these techniques on my little ones and hopefully I can continue to have a pleasant stay at my home away from home, Canada!

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