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Don’t Be a Couch Parent

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Don’t Be a Couch Parent

As a longtime therapist who did a significant amount of in-home therapy with children and families, there are a number of parents that I worked with that I would call “couch parents”..

In order to be a couch parent, the parent had to spend a lot of their time on the couch and do most of their parenting from the couch. This usually took the form of giving their children orders without ever leaving the couch,.

Here is a typical exchange.

Parent: “Billy, you need to take out the garbage!”. Usually, this is repeated several times with increasing volume in a frantic voice.

Meanwhile, the child who may or may not be in the same room would usually ignore the parent's request. This would lead to greater frustration by the parent who would raise their voice and intensity level even higher. .

It would usually end with the child yelling at the parent to “Stop yelling at me!” Whatever was asked of the child ended up not being done.

Research suggests children tend to respond best by commands when they are given with direct eye contact, with the child’s full attention, in a very direct manner. This can also be enhanced by the parent getting down to the child’s level physically to give eye to eye contact and give the direct request. This is far different than couch parenting since it involves actively engaging the child to complete the parental requests..

Is it fool-proof? Not always.

I can guarantee though the couch parenting method will show poor results and teach your kid to ignore your requests. Not a good result if you want better compliance from your child..

Trying this simple strategy might be enough to significantly increase your child’s compliance in the home..

Then you can reward yourself with some couch time. Savor couch time for relaxing though not parenting.

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