Want to generate more cooperation from your children?
Here are 5 tips to get you started on a positive discipline course.
- Say it don't SCREAM it.
- from across the room at eight decibels above the TV volume, in a tone that evokes fond memories of Joan Crawford.
Use eye contact, physical proximity and an "open" tone when asking for your child's cooperation.
- Yes, AND...
This is an old comedy improv rule. Children (like improvisers) don't like to hear the word NO .
It immediately rattles them and obstructs their natural search for joy. It can also set-off an anxious, nervous or stressed-out child onto a course of disregulation faster than you can say please, don't...
So say YES... AND turn your NO into something your child can look forward to. It may not mean he won't argue or try to change your mind but he'll recognize and appreciate that you took his request seriously and did not dismiss it without consideration.
Yes, you can have a cookie - how about after lunch?
Yes, you can have that Monster Truck/Dollhouse. Shall we ask Grandma for your birthday?
Yes, you can plan a sleepover. Does next weekend work for you and your friend?
Yes, you can go to the mall after school, let's pick a date that works for both of us when I can pick you up.
Yes, you can have a playdate with your friend. I'll talk with her mom and plan it.
- Take out the negatives.
No, but, shouldn't, can't, don't and stop- needn't always be in your vocabulary in order for you to change your child's behavior.
Energy flows where attention goes.
Focus on what you WANT. When you phrase your requests in the affirmative, you are allowing your intentions to flow with your desires, effortlessly.
Don't touch the hot stove - becomes
This is a very hot surface. Please keep your arms and face clear of this area.
No, you can't have that candy bar - becomes
Yes, you can have a special treat, I'd like you to pick one that has more nutritional value.
But I have told you four times - becomes
It looks like your laundry was not put away yet. I'd really like to have this room cleaned before the weekend. Would you help me get it in order?
You shouldn't have done that - becomes
I'm sorry you got yourself in trouble. Sometimes our actions deliver unexpected results.
You can't have that [special toy at the store] - becomes
I'd like you to have toys that you enjoy. I am not sure this is something that is appropriate. Can I help you find something else you'd like?
- State your concern.
You have needs and desires - just like your child does. You want your child to learn to be considerate of others' needs and cooperate, right?
Children learn to show respect for others when they feel heard, validated and understood.
Your child deserves to know that when you say "no jumping on the couch," it is because you don't want dirty feet to ruin the fabric or because you are worried that someone will get hurt.
If you decide there will be "no more sleepovers on school-nights" it is because you are concerned for her well-being and not because you are arbitrarily trying to rain on her parade.
Allow your child to cooperate because she WANTS to not because she HAS to!
It is my job to keep you safe and I'm concerned that you will fall and hurt yourself. Let me help you find a safe place to play.
I am worried that our couch is going to be damaged. It is made of a delicate fabric. Let's find a place to jump where we won't ruin our things.
I'm hearing that you would like to spend more time with your friends. I want you to have that time and I'd like to help you find ways to enjoy your friends that also assure me that you're safe.
I'm worried that you have been so tired in the mornings. I'd like you to spend some more time at home resting in a way you enjoy and save sleeping at your friends' houses for the weekend.
- Connecting before directing.
You child will be more likely to want to help you if you spend a moment (or five) sitting close while he watches his favorite show, gently touch his shoulder, or investigate the book he is reading - before you ask for favors or demand things "get done."
Take time now to nurture and cherish the connection you're building - it will last a lifetime.
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