When you ask your child to do something, does he really hear you? If so, does he obey? Parents need kids to follow directions—and kids often want to do things their own way. Here are some solutions:
- Be firm. Make your instructions clear, not wishy-washy. You don’t need to yell or sound angry. Simply say, “Please turn off the TV and get dressed”—not “Can you turn off the TV and be productive?”
- Be brief. Avoid long explanations, such as “We can’t go to the park right now because it’s cold, and you just got over being sick. Plus, it’s going to close soon.” This gives your child plenty to argue with instead of a good reason to agree.
- Be specific. Kids are great at finding excuses for misbehavior. “You didn’t say, ‘Brush your teeth,’ you said, ‘Go to bed.’ So I’m in bed!” Tell your child exactly what you expect.
- Be calm. If you start yelling, your child may focus on your anger rather than his behavior. He may even get angry himself, thinking, “You’re being mean to me!” Calmly remind your child of what he should do. If he doesn’t comply quickly, use a consequence. For example, “I’ve asked you twice to put away your toy. Now I have to take it away for the afternoon.”
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