Many of us were raised under a very authoritative parenting model, so making the shift to parenting by teaching and guiding is very counter intuitive. Don’t be alarmed if you too are struggling to understand and implement this new approach. Here are five sure fire ways of communicating with your child without resorting to the phrase “You’ll do it because I said so!”
Number one; don’t respond to the uproar. No matter what the issue is, expect initial resistance in the form of uproar. Uproar is the smoke screen that children create to distract you from your task in setting limits. It comes in many different forms, for example; blaming, excuses, name calling, etc. your job is to ignore the uproar, no matter what form it takes.
Number two; restate your expectations or concerns. Be ready to repeat a directive. For instance, “I expect you to take the trash out before dinner.” Don’t worry about sounding like a broken record and don’t engage in a debate over the directive. Simply restate your expectation.
Number three; offer the “When… then” technique. This concept makes parenting more fun, instead of threatening your child offer a positive incentive. “When you have taken out the trash, then we can make popcorn.” Or, “when your room is cleaned up then we can head to the mall.”
Number four; use the magic word ‘nevertheless’. After listening to your child’s feelings and considering her perspective and requests, determine what is best for you both and set a bottom-line limit with the magic word ‘nevertheless’. “I realize it is cold outside; nevertheless, I need you to take the trash out before dinner.” I am not really sure what makes this word so powerful and effective, but countless parents have thanked me for it.
Number five; think ahead, plan together for a mutually happy resolution. If you have a problem with your child, involve them in the formation of the resolution. Stop trying to do all the thinking for them. Instead, solicit their input; let them start to figure out how to solve the problem. Acknowledge your child’s ideas because anytime you can involve them in the solution they are much more likely to embrace it.
You can start today to implement this new technique. By involving your children in the process you remove the ‘us versus them’ mentality and this allows you to both be on the same team. Setting limits and positive guidelines is our job as parents, so any time we can streamline this procedure – the better.