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Blog Parenting Tools: Ditch the Broken Ones | Positive Parenting Coach MegAnne Ford

Ditch the Broken Tools

analyzing tools

I want to share a story illustrating how stubborn I can be in holding onto beliefs that are not serving my goal. How quickly can I opt for what is comfortable and convenient instead of staying present and searching out more enjoyable ways to live my life?

Takeaways

Embracing Change for Better Results: The story of replacing a dull can opener highlights the tendency to cling to familiar yet ineffective tools, emphasizing the importance of letting go of outdated parenting strategies for more positive outcomes.

 

The Impact of New Tools on Well-being: The experience of using a new, efficient can opener serves as a powerful analogy, illustrating how upgrading tools can bring joy, ease, and relief, prompting reflection on the need to adopt effective parenting tools for smoother family dynamics and improved results.

 

I get it. It is hard to change. It is hard to learn/do/behave differently- even when it means we are doing things SO MUCH HARDER!

It is not until we release the convenience of "this is how I've always done it" and start doing something new and different that we can feel the positive change in our lives.

I want you to ask yourself at the end of this story- are the current strategies that I use with my children, partner, boss, and employees helping me get to my goals, or is it time to learn some more effective tools?
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When we brought our adopted dog Jude home for the first time, she refused to eat. For 5 days, it was scary.

I reached out to my friends for help. A close family member shared with us her homemade dog food. 

Jude now only eats homemade dog food.

My husband, Jason, and I make it from scratch and store it in the fridge for her to eat throughout the week (it's the only meal prep I do).

Part of this dog food-making process includes opening four cans of ingredients. One day, our can opener went dull.

Every week- when my husband and I would make her food, we used that dull can opener.

At first, it wasn't that bad. Just slightly annoying. I would notice it took more hand strength to get the blade to cut the aluminum. 

After a couple more weeks, it needed to go around the can twice to ensure it was opened. And after a couple more weeks, it just flat out wouldn't work. That's when I would go into full-on rages, over-opening cans.

"JASON! Please help me open the cans...I want to cry and give our dog away!"

One weekend, after getting back from the store and about to start the dog food preparation, I ran upstairs to put on my comfy pants.

Let's be real, delay the start of said dog food preparation. After procrastinating for about 10 minutes, I returned to the kitchen, feeling upset, frustrated, annoyed, and resentful and not really knowing why. That's when my wonderful husband shared:

"I opened the cans for you because I know how much you hate it."

I believe there were tears in my eyes. I was so grateful that I didn't have to open the cans. Yes, I know I cried! But after I was finished, I cleaned off the can opener and tucked it safely into the kitchen drawer.

Because "that's what I've always done."

Wash, rinse, and repeat this process for over a full 52 weeks.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking, possibly saying out loud right now:

"Seriously? Get a new freaking can opener already!"

I thought about it. Oh, I *thought* about it.

I did what many do when they have a problem: I researched can openers online.

I had three in my Amazon cart. I had a $45 electric one that was beautiful. But....I wasn't sure if I wanted another plug-in appliance.

There was a really cool toucan can opener that was fun. And it was $20.

The last one that was stored was a plain black OXO standard issue opener for $11.50.

All three can openers had been sitting in my cart for about 6 months. It just never seemed like a purchase I wanted to make. That is until I made the dog's food, and then I was cursing up a storm and revisiting my Amazon cart...again, not sure which one to buy.

 

My life changed forever on one random morning. Jason and I were walking into the grocery store needing a couple of things, and on a tight timeline, we split up to be faster. I was trying to find him again when I walked down the aisle in the store with the kitchen appliances, which caught my eye. Immediately, I found the black OXO can opener from my Amazon cart and grabbed it! It was 2 dollars more expensive than ordering, but I knew I needed it, NOW!

I rushed back to find Jason- and when I did, I held up my find, and he proclaimed,

"YES!!!! Buy it!"

We went home. We happily opened all the cans to make Jude's food and talked about how silly it was to wait so long just to buy a new can opener. What used to cause me many moments of frustration was all over instantly. A task that I would dread now takes me about five conflict-free minutes. But the true value of that buy wasn't apparent until last week.

I was home alone, about to fix myself some tuna fish in a can. When I picked up the can opener, I became aware of how tense and nervous I was. It was in the background, almost a year of using the broken opener.

But, as soon as I cut open that can- a feeling I can only describe as pure and utter joy came over my body. I remembered that we bought a new, faster, easier, amazing can opener! And I relaxed my body. The tense feelings reminded me of the past frustration, and the relaxed feeling brought me joy that I found my new tool.

 

What a can opener has to do with parenting tools

So why the story? How often do we use broken tools (i.e. timeout, shaming, blaming, spanking, guilt, yelling) thinking that our children's behavior will change?

I am here to serve the wake-up call that those tools never get you the desired results. You will only make things harder for you and your family. It is not until you ditch the broken tools and learn new more effective ways to communicate and hold your children accountable that huge shifts will occur.

Just like the can opener being there the whole time this work will be here when you have had enough.

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