This post is in partnership with fairlife ultra-filtered milk and all opinions are my own.
One comment I get the most about my children is how well-behaved and sweet they are. Whether it be their teachers, their friends’ moms, or my friends, they ask me all the time how I raise them to be so well-behaved! My reply to them is always is that they were born this way! Heaven knew I’d be the worst mom in the world otherwise because I am not a patient enough person. So for the children’s sakes, I was given naturally well-behaved and sweet kids.
Of course my kids are not always well behaved and they bicker and argue here and there, and one constant thing they fight over is who gets to drink the last bit of our fairlife ultra-filtered milk. Every single bottle, every single time, guys! It’s more of a playful fight but then sometimes they get serious and say things like, “No, that’s not fair! You got to drink the last bit last time so it’s my turn!”
While they fight over the last cup of fairlife milk because it just tastes really good and they prefer the taste over any other milk, plain and simple, I prefer to give them fairlife milk because of all the nutritional value it offers. You can compare it to other milks for yourself here but while some brands of coconut milk and almond milk offers 0-1g of protein per 8 oz., fairlife offers 13 g. of protein. Compared to the regular 2% milk we used to drink, fairlife has 50% less sugar, 50% more protein and 30% more calcium. Compared to soy milk, fairlife has almost double the protein and 30% less calories per serving!
This is why I feel really good feeding my kids fairlife milk. It’s also lactose-free so my mom and my husband can drink it without having to go to the bathroom 30 mins. later. Too much info?
And how do I settle my children’s last bit of milk debate? I let my kids debate and handle it on their own and they usually come to a peaceful conclusion all on their own. They really are good kids and I am a very lucky mama to have them in my life. Heaven knew I’d be the worst mom in the world, because otherwise I am not a patient enough person. So for the children’s sake, I was given naturally well-behaved and sweet kids.
But no one is ever satisfied with that answer, which I wholeheartedly believe to be true. So they nudge and keep asking if there are specific things I do or ways I discipline them so I thought a blog post might be helpful on ways I raise my children. I don’t know if these will work for other parents but this is the way I raise mine and maybe you’ll find it helpful.
How I Raise My Kids to be Well-Behaved
- I try to lead by example foremost instead of by lecturing or nagging. I don’t wail my arms around and scream in the middle of a grocery aisle if my kids tell me no or bite them when I get mad. But seriously, I was once told that the biggest influence on how our kids will turn out, is who we are as parents, not what kind of school they go to, what kind of music they listened to in our womb, what extra-curricular activities we have them do. Because actions speak louder than words. I am so far from perfect and I have so much to work on but I constantly try to strive to improve myself and be better. I am quick to apologize and explain to them why I yelled at them or did things I wasn’t proud of, and what I learned from it and why I regret it, but how I will do better from then on. I believe it’s very important for our kids to see that we are imperfect, flawed human beings and seeing us not as “adults who have got it figured out and got it all together” but instead seeing us as “human beings” whom are navigating this world and learning as we go by trial and error, just like they are.
- I try to minimize the “dominant role” I have as a parent. I believe using my title as “I am the adult, I am the parent, I set the rules in this household and you just have to obey” creates this power dynamic that is unhealthy and minimizes their individuality and self-identity and confidence. I always tell them that no matter how much I think I teach them and show them the ways, they will always shape me and teach me to be a better person, way more than I ever will to them. I try to always listen to their opinions, insights, why they think their punishment is unfair and what punishment sounds more fair to them, discuss together in setting rules, or curfews, so that they learn to voice their opinions or debate using healthy communication to stand up for themselves. There is a balance of course to this, I believe in being a parent first and their friend second and I demand respect from them and they demand the same respect but they know that I get a final say in the end, after listening and discussing with them.
- Kindness is always cool. Kindness is always the right choice. Of course there are times when you need to use self-defense and not be a pushover but for the not extreme circumstances, kindness is always cool, it is never outdated. I tell them to watch for those kids during recess that are playing alone, to reach out to them and be their friend so no one is alone during recess(unless they want to) or to always stand up to bullies and protect their friends and classmates.
- In order to stop our children’s behavior, we need to first understand and sympathize why they are behaving that way first. Only once they feel understood, they will stop their behavior on their own. I let my children express their emotions without shaming them or trying to quiet them. I don’t tell them to stop or tell my son that boys don’t cry or stop being a wuss, they know that they can express their emotions fully and as long as they need to, without me shaming them or judging them or trying to rush their emotional process. I acknowledge how they much feel by reiterating to them and saying, “It’s hard to leave when you are having so much fun, huh?” When they are throwing a fit because they don’t want to leave the playground. Or “I can imagine how frustrated and annoying that must be to have your little sibling always get into your stuff and sometimes break them. I’d feel frustrated and annoyed too, I am sorry.” Once they feel understood and sympathized, they calm down and snuggle me in silence, no more feeling like they need to explain or prove to me why they feel the way they do.
- I do not let them get away with any amount of sass or attitude. I will not take it whatsoever. At the first sign of sass or attitude, I zap it and tell them to stop. That I do not tolerate any ounce of sass or attitude.
- If it’s a problem they can solve on their own, I let them solve it on their own and don’t interfere to be the middle-man(see my fairlife ultra-filtered milk example above for how my children have learned to resolve this problem on their own). It’s important for them to learn to argue or fight and learn to negotiate and make amends on their own.
- I used the 1-2-3 method(a lot when they were younger, less so now). If they misbehaved, I gave them one warning. If they do it again, I silently just raise my 2 fingers and look at them firmly in the eyes. If they do it one more time, they go sit in the corner of the room or in their room(whichever they prefer). So for example, if my child came to me and asked for a snack, I explain that they cannot have a snack since I am making dinner and we will be eating dinner in 30 mins. And I want them to fill up their tummy with nutritious food instead so they will grow healthy and strong. If they whine and ask again, I raise my hand or say “That’s one.” If they ask again, I say, “That’s two.” or raise my two fingers. If they do it again, they go in the corner. I know some people don’t believe in the time-out method and I understand why shutting them in their room all alone(especially when they are babies or toddlers) can be traumatic for them. So I had them just to in the corner of whatever room I am in so they can still see me and I am in the same space as them and they know that I am not shutting them out. This distance is so that I don’t go crazy and lose my patience but also for them to have some quiet reflection time. Before using this 1-2-3 method, you’d need to explain to your children how it works and what they can expect. And with certain things, you don’t give them 3 chances, especially as they get older, some they only get one warning or two warnings.
- Follow through. Always, always follow through. The 1-2-3 method will not work if you don’t put them in the corner or give them some other form of discipline. If you tell them, “If I count to 3 and you haven’t put your shoes on yet, you will not be able to go to your friend’s house.” And they don’t put their shoes on before you counted to 3, you have to follow through and they don’t get to play at their friend’s house. I have had my preschooler stay home from school because I told her that would be her discipline if she didn’t cooperate(which I quickly learned was more of a punishment for me since I didn’t get my free time! Never happened again!), or we turned around and went straight home when we were on our way to go get ice-cream and the kids kept fighting and bickering at each other. We gave them one warning and then they didn’t listen so we drove back home and they were devastated. But after that, they knew we meant what we said and that we weren’t joking around.
I hope you found my list above helpful for you.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever tried fairlife ultra-filtered milk and if you have any other tips for me on raising well behaved kids! I am always open to suggestions on parenting because once we know better, we can do better.