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Guerilla Parenting Techniques: What Are They?

When you hear the phrase, 'guerrilla parenting techniques', what images come to mind? I see a big, broad shouldered soldier, dressed in green fatigues, with brown paint on his face. His chest is crisscrossed with ammunition for the guns strapped on his legs. He's quietly hidden under the cover of trees, waiting to snipe away at the enemy with maximum impact.

The word 'guerilla', was a term borrowed from Spanish used to describe small combat groups. Guerilla warfare operates with small, mobile and flexible combat groups without a front line. It seems appropriate to use this term when discussing new parenting techniques for parents. I'm going to describe what guerilla parenting techniques are; what they aren't; give some examples and then explain why they are helpful to parents and children.

Just like in guerilla warfare, it's always a great thing to respond to your children in ways totally different than what they expect. It catches them off guard and they start to watch you and listen better. Sometimes, you come in quietly, interact with them in new and unexpected ways, and then retreat quickly without a word. The less you say the better. You provide natural consequences instead of punishment; you make the consequence fit the crime. If a child is fighting with a sibling, perhaps that child has to do his sibling's chores the next day to make up for his negative actions, instead of being sent to his room. Successful parents are fully armed with unexpected ways to handle frustrating behaviors.

Guerilla parenting techniques do not involve giving severe consequences. They aren't needed. It is the certainly of a consequence coming that has impact with children. Therefore, physical punishment, especially when given to control, manipulate or to demonstrate power would not fall under this category of parenting styles. Making children feel they are wrong, belittling them and/or putting them down would also not be an example of guerrilla parenting techniques.

Let's look at three examples of guerilla parenting techniques. I found them in Brita St. Clair's little book called 99 Ways to drive Your Child Sane. The first is in response to a child who constantly chatters. Start watching an imaginary fly going around the room. Watch it land somewhere, sneak up on it and pop it in your mouth. Move your tongue around the inside of your cheek like the fly is trying to get out and let it loose and start over and/or turn to your child and say, "I'm sorry, were you saying something?"

If you have a child showing a negative, "snotty" attitude, walk by and hand your child a tissue. Don't say anything, just hand it to the child. If he or she asks what it's for, just say, "I thought you might need it." See if your child figures it out without your help.

What about the child who likes to say, "That's stupid." If you child says this phrase a lot, say, "No, this is stupid," and do something really crazy like walk backwards with your head between your legs. Then, walk away and leave the child wondering what that was all about. The more you do these activities, the more fun you begin to have.

Guerilla parenting techniques are helpful to parents and children because the parents don't get upset and yell at their children. Instead, they remain calm and in control. For some families, that would really shock the kids into watching their parents (What happened to my mom? I'm not able to get her upset and get my way anymore). Parents change the dance steps with their children; they move in new and unexpected ways, which throws the children off guard; it can shift tension and anger to silence and laughter instantly. Finally, You use natural consequences for misbehavior instead of punishment, so the children have to look at how they created their predicaments instead of getting angry at their parents for punishing them

In summation, you've read my explanation of guerilla parenting techniques, as well as examples of what they are aren't. Some examples of these techniques were given before I addressed how these techniques are helpful to parents who are successful with their children. Now, when I hear the phrase, 'guerrilla parenting techniques', I envision a picture of a strong, loving, confident and spontaneous parent who isn't afraid to have fun while catching his or child off guard; a parent who knows how to ambush children into behaving respectfully and responsibly at home.

MaryLynne White Can a Game Really Compel Any Child to Behave? "How to Become a Super Nanny in Your Own Home! Free Consumer Awareness Guide Shows You How..." http://www.ParentSurvival911.com

Want some free parenting tips? Visit MaryLynne's blog for daily tipes and ideas. http://www.parentsurvival.org

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