UPDATING “BECAUSE I SAID SO”
All parents would like to have their children cooperate and show some responsibility at home and at school. Threats, bribes, and multiple reminders are used to get our children to complete their tasks. When it does not work, we often end up using “Because I said so.” This authoritarian method of parenting is on its way out, as demanding compliance will fuel more power struggles. Instead, collaboration and respect produce more positive results.
Here are 4 ways to help your child improve her/his behavior:
1.” When…Then…” Phrase your requests by saying “When you have finished all your math problems, then you can go out to play with your friends.” Or “When your hands are clean, then I know you are ready to eat.” This technique is a way to communicate with your child positively rather than trying to “make her/him” do something. Even though the choices are limited, your child still has still the power to decide when she/he will be ready to move to the activity you are asking to be done.
2. "Anything you can do to…” This sentence invites cooperation from your child. For instance, say “Anything you can do to help us get ready to the beach would be really helpful.” Or “Can you help me rake all these leaves before it rains?” Although it is not guaranteed your child will respond positively, there is a great chance that she/he does so as the wording requests her/his participation and contribution rather than strict obedience.
3.” What is your plan for…?” Instead of telling your child “You need to finish your oral presentation due on Friday.”, ask her/him “What is your plan for getting your oral presentation done in time? “In addition to being more encouraging, this puts the ball firmly in her/his court. She/he is clearly the one in charge who needs to think about ways to get the job done.
4. ”Asked and answered.” This tool derived from the concepts of positive discipline stops whining in its tracks. When your child asks you for the umpteenth time if she/he can roller skate in the living room, the first time you try this strategy, remind her/him that you are not going to change your mind when she/he asks the same question over and over. Then, tell your child that from now on, when she/he repeats a question you have already answered, you will tell her/him “Asked and answered.” If you remain firm, she/he will quickly get the point.
Inviting cooperation and participation rather than handing down orders and yelling, will benefit everyone in the household and make everyone happier. Your child will be more willing to accept and fulfill her/his responsibilities.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.