GFM JANUARY 2016
FOUR WAYS TO GET YOUR CHILD TO WORK FOR YOU INSTEAD OF AGAINST YOU
Every parent has been there—one of those days when you feel like your children’s only goal is to directly defy you. When your children won’t brush their teeth, comb their hair, or put on their socks, it makes you think a larger plan could be afoot. This can’t be accidental, can it?
Whether it’s all part of a larger plan or a spur-of-the-moment tantrum, things would be much easier if your children would work with you. To that end, here are four ways you can get your kids playing on your team—without the hysterics.
Challenge them. All parents understand the power reverse psychology has on children. Tell them they can’t put their socks on or eat their vegetables, and amazingly, they go and do the opposite. Children appreciate a challenge at any age, and older children can find satisfaction in a job well done. Explain to children the result of accomplishing their challenge. Tell them, for example, “If you get ready, we’ll go see your friends at school.” They’ll be more apt to take the task on, and you won’t have to fight or ask repeatedly.
Develop good habits. When it comes to bedtime, meal time, or free time, kids need stability in their lives. To the same end, they”ll also be more willing to accept tasks and work with you when the requests become routine. For example, children must understand that tasks like getting dressed, brushing their teeth, and combing their hair are expected of them every morning. Even if the first days or weeks of any new routine are tough, kids will be quicker to accept these responsibilities if the tasks are assigned daily.
Offer a good example of teamwork. Either model the behavior you want, or task it out to a favorite video game or book that can provide examples of teamwork to your young one. Point out to your child the behavior you see in the example, and explain how the two of you can work together to accomplish a common task.
Take the time to listen. Children, especially small children, often have little control over their lives. They are constantly being taken to one location or the next and being told what to wear, when to sleep, what to eat, and when they can and cannot watch television or other electronic gadgets. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that they act out in protest from time to time. Take a moment to listen to your children, and explain to them why it’s necessary to behave in a certain way. They may not immediately jump on board with your request, but at least you’ll both have taken a moment to calm down and let cooler heads prevail.
In today’s busy world, you hardly have time for children who chant “no, no, no” to everything you say. By employing the tips above, you can turn your largest critics into advocates, and create a collaborative effort that benefits all of you.