Have you ever noticed the older kids get the harder it is to get them to cooperate? Why is that? We want them to be independent but we also want them to be responsible.
STOP EXPLAINING AND LISTEN TO THEM
The more we explain things, the more they will tune us out. Have you ever seen a parent talking to a child and they have their ears plugged and are saying “blah, blah, blah.” That drives me crazy!! Understand it is going to take some time for them to feel safe talking to you about what is bothering them. Especially if they are used to you always reassuring them or dismissing their feelings.
Don’t tell them what is wrong with them. Instead describe the problem – ex. the dog is pacing by the door instead of “You never take the dog out and don’t deserve to have a pet.”
It would be great if you could empty the dishwasher right after dinner so I could clean the kitchen instead of “I shouldn’t have to always remind you to empty the dishwasher. Why can’t you do your chores without me having to remind you all the time?”
SAY IT WITH A WORD
Your lunch instead of “I’m so tired of having to remind you to take your lunch I’m not going to make it anymore for you. Why can’t you remember anything?”
TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS
Don’t comment on the kids character or personality. If we can describe what we are feeling, they won’t take it personally. Everybody will want to cooperate more when they don’t feel they are being attacked all the time. Instead of saying “You are so rude you never let me finish my thoughts.” Say “I feel frustrated when I don’t get to finish what I’m trying to say.”
WRITE A NOTE
If you asked your child to clean the bathroom instead of bugging them you can put a note on the mirror “I know you are busy but please clean me today before spending time on your phone. Thanks, Mom.”
Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish wrote an awesome book called How to Talk so Kids Will Listen.
I am going be doing a workshop in March where you will learn to help children deal with their feelings, engage cooperation, alternatives to punishment, encouraging autonomy, praise and freeing children from playing roles. Please send me an email if you would like further information and details.