How many times a day have you found yourself telling your child to do something only to end with “okay?”. Or beginning a directive with “Do you want to …” when there really is no choice but to do what you’re requesting.
All of us can predict where we find ourselves next – right in the middle of a confrontation, our child saying no, arguing, debating, stalling. The opening is there for negotiation and your child senses this – and will go for it every time. It’s a familiar dance every parent has gone through.
It’s hard to stop. Even when we know better.
But let’s try. This week, bite your tongue before the all-too-ready “okay?” comes out. A clear, brief statement is best. Just tell your child what he needs to do – in a kind but sure voice. “Take your plate to the sink.” “Go and get your shoes.” “Put the top back on the marker.”
And instead of …”“Do you want to ….”, use “it’s time”. It’s time to put away your blocks … go home for lunch …get ready for a bath. “It’s time” separates you from the reason and provides a sense of secure, predictable routine to your message.
The difference is really in your expectations, delivery of those expectations and the confidence you exude that your child will listen and you will follow through. If you find yourself, however, being a micro manager and constantly directing and reminding your child about every little thing, this will be a perfect time to change that behavior. Choose to say only what you absolutely need your child to do. Your child will be relieved and that alone may make listening more effective.
Experts say it takes at least three weeks to change a behavior pattern so be prepared – both for yourself and your child’s response. Take that time. Notice the difference. Feel more in charge, yet more relaxed. Your children will be too.
If you’d like some help or support while trying this, give me a call at Family Resources, 784-8125 to talk on the phone or make an appointment to come in.