Ralphie and I became friends online when we realized we have similar goals on social media. I was instantly drawn to Ralphie when I saw her Instagram handle: Simply on Purpose. I love the notion of keeping something small and simple on purpose in order to stay focused on what matters most.
Through study and lots of practice, Ralphie has become a parenting expert and shares her wisdom online and in workshops and classes in her home state, Texas.
I begged Ralphie to tell me if she ever planned on visiting Utah so I could gather some women who I knew would be eager to learn from her. We sold 100+ tickets in a day and had a long waiting list. Obviously, people were eager for parenting tips that were simple enough to implement and just made sense—unlike many of the myriads of parenting tips we’re bombarded with online, in books, and from well-meaning family and friends every day.
It was a lovely and inspiring evening and left all of us with some tools to go home and implement with our families.
Here are a few thoughts I came away with:
Stay safe as a parent. Stay in control of your emotions and model good behavior. Your children will emulate what you do, good or bad. Make sure you are always a soft, forgiving, loving place for them to land.
Your children’s behavior should not make or break your happiness. You can always choose to stay in control and stay positive.
Focus on the good in your children. We statistically ignore most of our children’s good behavior and pay more attention to the bad. Praise your children’s good behavior vocally and often. Those positive affirmations will do more than anything else to improve a child’s behavior.
Ignore junk behavior (behavior that is just annoying or whiny, but doesn’t actually harm anyone around them). Giving it attention (even negative attention) actually reinforces the behavior. Instead of yelling at your child or chiding him or her, shift your focus to a child who is behaving well and praise them, or simply make yourself busy with “mom things.” The junk behavior wont last long.
Another way to handle junk behavior is to thank your child in advance for doing what you expect of them or behaving the way you expect them to. For example, thank your child for taking out the garbage while she’s complaining about it instead of chiding her for complaining. Stay positive.
Skip the time-outs if you are using them as a way to punish or belittle. Instead, use them as a way for your child to take a break and calm down.
When your child misbehaves, Instead of thinking in terms of disciplining, think in terms of teaching and look for those teaching opportunities. Teach your children when both of you are calm. That is the only time they can really learn.
Don’t threaten your children. Instead of dishing out punishments when your child misbehaves, calmly explain to your child what you expect of him or her and that the consequence of bad behavior in your home is that the child does not get to be with the family and participate in what you are doing. If you create a positive environment in your home, your children will naturally want to be with you and the family and will want to behave so that they can be.
There’s so much more, but sadly, I lost my notes, so all of that was just from memory!
After the event, we all talked about how Ralphie’s tips never make us feel like we are failing as parents. She always teaches with hope and room for mistakes.
A huge thank you to Ralphie, her sweet husband who came to support her, and everyone else who helped pull this evening together. (You know who you are and I love you.) I hope we can do this again soon!
All photos are taken and edited by my BFF, Katie Cheesman. Thanks, Katie!