Today we will be taking a look at the 5 steps needed to better utilize the Hidden Agendas Method effectively.
Putting the Four Hidden Agendas Method into play only requires the following 5 steps…
Before we can move forward we need to be calm. A very common question I get from parents is; “Exactly, how do I calm down?” In the program, we talk about having a positive time-out. You might say to the child, “I really want to talk to you about this. I feel very upset right now. I can also see that you are upset too. Let’s put this on pause for the next 10 minutes and then come back together to address what is going on.” Excuse yourself to another room, close the door, take a few deep breaths and silently count to yourself. This will lower your stress rate and help to create a calm, collected frame of mind. When we are in a calm state of mind we can think rationally and carry on a meaningful conversation with people who are actually listening.
Step Two – Check in with yourself
You want to ask yourself what are you feeling and experiencing at the moment. While also taking the time to understand why the behavior is happening. Look at yours and the child’s emotions and reactions. From this reflection, you start to develop an emotional vocabulary. One that moves beyond “I’m frustrated” or “I’m angry”. In the workshops, we often talk about those being umbrella words that actually describe a whole range of different emotions. What are you feeling specifically? Is something annoying you? Are you in despair? Is there a feeling of hopelessness? Or fear? Is it that you don’t feel adequate? Be specific with your words.
Have you ever sat beside someone that is having an emotional moment and you start to feel what they are feeling? This happens because we are always radiating emotions. Time spent with children that are misbehaving or having an emotional response, causes us to start to feel the same way.
It is a little like radio waves that go out from our being and enter into the space of those around us. This is why step two is to Check In with yourself. Taking a look at how you are feeling will play a part in figuring out where your child is coming from in their behavior and responses.
Once you have figured out what you are feeling it is time to check the hidden agendas chart for the reasoning options behind it. You want to choose the response that is fulfilling the secret need or hidden agenda of your child as accurately as possible. Identifying their hidden agenda and taking the appropriate steps to change it will take some time and practice. Possibly even some training would be worthwhile so that you can learn and get comfortable identifying the hidden agendas of your kids.
Step Four – Your Response
Once we have identified that underlying issue we need to respond in a way that is both kind and firm. One of my favorite ways to approach this is with the Blissful Parenting Program communication template
“I love you and…”
In this program, we have lots of different communication templates that are both super effective and easy to use. For instance; “I love you and we are having chicken for dinner tonight. If you would like to help me prepare dinner tomorrow, maybe we can make something that is more your favorite.” Or “I love you and your one-hour video game time is up for the day. If you don’t want this to affect your time for tomorrow you will shut your computer down now.” Or “I love you and the expectation is that you will clean up your room. After you do that, we’re going to go play in the park for a little while.”
Phrasing your response with “I love you and here is what we are going to do” reinforces that you do care while holding firm to your expectations.
Time spent on being conscious on how you deliver the message removes the need to yell, bribe or punish in order to gain cooperation. This will not only help in the heated moments but also prevent them from happening in the first place.
Step Five – Teaching and training = Time spent together
We all have very busy lives running in multiple directions all at once. For this reason, individual time spent with each child tends to get missed. Reclaiming control over our busy schedules allows for more time connecting, teaching, guiding and hanging out together. When we make the time to connect with our children their needs are being proactively met. Therefore alleviating the reason to try and fill that void by misbehaving. After a while the behaviors you were experiencing over and over again simply start to fade away. Your house will become peaceful and have more fulfilling interactions. By applying these five steps in moments of heightened emotion your home will become more peaceful, connected and full of love and contentment.