To win cooperation from strong-willed children, focus on not being adversarial, pleading, or fearful of resistance. These types of responses feel disrespectful or weak which diminishes your authority and often opens the door to power struggles. Avoid these common responses.
- Answering your kid’s “why?” when they already know the answer. You’ll end up defending yourself and trying to convince them to change their resistance. You don’t need their agreement in order to comply.
- Asking with “Will you please”, when it isn’t a choice.
- Adding on “Okay” at the end of your directions to try and get their approval.
- Giving a “consequence” that feels like a punishment to “teach your kids a lesson.”
- Counting 1….2…..3…. as a means to scare your children into doing what you want them to do. Most parents don’t know what they will do if they get past 3!
- Shaming your children with statements such as, “How many times do I have to tell you?”, “Why did you do that?”, “You should have known better”, “You’re a bad boy or girl.”
- Giving a threat “if you don’t do (what I want) then (something bad) will happen”.
- Using exaggerations: “never, always, everybody, nobody, every time, all the time ”
- Commanding with “You should, you’d better, you ought to, you can’t, you will.”
- Talking too much and making your directions longer rather than shorter.
- Stating your request from your needs with “I want you to…” and “I need you to.”
How many of these do you say? Are there other words that trigger your kids’ resistance to following your directions?
Stopping what isn’t working is a great start. You’re also wondering “Well, what do I do instead?” Read my article How to Give Kids Directions That Are Followed to learn a more effective approach to gaining cooperation from your kids.
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