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Are you sharing too much information with your child?

TMI: Too much information?

Recently I've been hearing lots of parents talk about how much is too much information (TMI) when they are talking with their children. Often it's difficult to understand what are healthy boundaries. There is a tendency for parent to over explain situations. I see this happening with young children, whereby a parent will offer a lengthy explanation to their child why they can't have a snack right now. The parent often is providing way too much information and justification as the child melts down into tantrums. This not only happens with toddlers, but I see it in teens and young adults too. Parents lovingly offer up lengthy reasons why their teen shouldn't do something and the teen launches into their version of a teen tantrum with whining, eye rolling, and anger.

Yes, modeling personal boundaries is essential to developing a healthy sense of self in your child. They need to hear you say "no" and they need to learn how to cope with the feelings around not getting what they want. However, there are many ways to set boundaries. You can set a boundary use a brief (one-two sentences) reason why. If it reasonable, allow you child a different choice or an opportunity to come up with a different idea. If you are firm on your decision do not launch into TMI lecture mode, this gives your child a reason to default to tantrums. Here's how you can use this simple strategy with your kids tonight and see changes in how you communicate.

For example, your child wants a candy bar before dinner.

Too much information:
Instead of saying, "You can't have a candy bar you know it's dinner time, you are always wanting to eat something before supper, why don't you do something else instead, like take the dog for a walk, or help me out in the kitchen..."

You could respond this way:
"No you can't have a candy bar before dinner, you can have an apple or grapes instead". (Do not say anything more. If they default to whining mode remind them ONE time of their choice and do not saying anything more)

For example, your pre-teen wants to go to a party with some friends.

Too much information:
Instead of saying, "You're always asking me to go to these parties and I tired of hearing about how all your friends are doing it, because we are not your friends parents, they let them do what ever they want ..."

You could respond this way:
"I don't feel comfortable with you being at this party without knowing who will be there. So I need to talk to the parents before hand if you'd like to go." (Do not say anything more. If they default to whining mode remind them ONE time of their choice and do not saying anything more)

For example, you and your spouse have been arguing in front of the children.

Too much information:
Instead of saying, "Your father is so annoying I can't stand it when he acts like that, he's always doing things to get me mad..."

You could respond this way:
"Your father and I have been not getting along recently and I am sorry you have had to hear us arguing. We are doing our best to try to communicate better and will try to be respectful of your feelings."

When you master TMI you can use it all sort of situations without becoming upset and reactive and you will teach your child healthy and respectful communication. Try it tonight and see how it works. If you need more support we can help, contact us at info@thecreativityqueen.com

Why your behavior may be the cause of your relationship problems and what you can do about it: A lesson learned from my garden hose!

I was working in my garden this morning and found myself struggling with pulling my garden hose from the hose box. As I struggled I began thinking about what we often do when we are stuck trying to solve a problem in our relationships and keep spinning our wheels getting really nowhere.

Let me tell you my lesson learned from grappling with the garden hose. So I set out to water my garden, which is in desperate need of watering and some TLC. I find my garden is a place I can go to when I want some inspiration; however, I was unable to unwind my hose from the box and found that less than inspiring.

I pulled the hose, but it didn't work. So I tried to unwind it from the inside, still nothing. I stood on the box (I know you're not supposed to do that, but I was getting pretty desperate), still no luck. At this point the hose in the box is so jammed I can't get to the attachment to unscrew it. I'm fairly hot, my mood is not so pleasant, my back is aching and I'm thinking about adding the hose task to the "honey do" list.

I stop for few minutes and really think what I want to do. I think about my alternatives. Maybe getting the watering can and going about watering, but that would take a long time. I think about the outcome. If I don't water today some of my plants will shrivel up and die in the heat. I think about waiting for my husband to solve the problem. I'll have to let go of when it will be done, which means my plants may fry. OK, I make a decision I will water today; I am committed to keeping my plants alive. I decide to try tackling the hose one more time before I get the watering can. Since using force doesn't work, and the hose is too tangled in the box, I decide I must try a different route. I found the attachment that links the hose to the outside of the box unscrew it and slowly and gently begin to unravel the hose.

This menial task that took me almost thirty minutes got me thinking about how we approach problems in our relationships. I started to think about the cycle that we default into when problems arise with others in our lives. Often someone we love will say or do something that triggers us. When this happens we may launch into the cycle of being reactive, this can show up as passive/resistant behavior or aggressive/angry behavior. So someone will do or say something that will push your buttons and all of a sudden you are reacting without thinking about what it is that you want and what you need to do to covey what you want.

My struggle with the hose annoyed me and I was reacting by pulling and shoving the hose. It didn't work; it didn't get me what I wanted. So by stopping and thinking about what I wanted, what are my alternatives, what's my desired outcome, and what I am committed to, I found a way to solve the problem. If in your relationships you default to being reactive, try stopping and thinking about what is you want (to be heard, to be understood, to have someone do something) what are your alternatives (wait until you cool down before you respond, ask for something, find a different way to share what you are feeling), what is your desired outcome (to have a closer relationship where there is trust and mutual respect) and what are you committed to (wanting better relationships, making changes in the way you react to others)? Sometimes it's really hard to break out of a pattern of reactivity. Sometimes having someone else help you unravel your proverbial hose in a frustrating and overwhelming situation makes the process of change easier. We would be happy to help you and your family members find new creative ways to improve your communication and build happier relationships. If you'd like help contact us info@thecreativityqueen.com.