How do I get my child to do X?

First things first ask yourself: Is what I’m asking of my child necessary? So much of what I was automatically asking my child to do was because I wanted to control him.

Here are some questions that may help you reframe your thinking.

How can I set up the environment so that X is more likely?  (Or less likely depending upon what X is)

How can I explain the importance of this so my child will understand?

How can I work with my child in a way that respects his/her needs and autonomy?

How can I talk with my child beforehand or at a neutral time so that we can increase chances of success?

Are there other ways that will be more enjoyable or a win/win for all involved?

What can I do in order to help my child with X?

How can I best react in the moment, when my child has a hard time doing X, so that we maintain a positive relationship?

How can I best react in the moment, when my child has a hard time doing X, so that I don’t create negative associations around X… and, in turn, make X even less likely to happen.  (This is the shooting yourself in the foot parenting move. Accomplished many-a-times by yours truly.)

How can I best react in the moment, when my child has a hard time doing X, so that I help build comfort, confidence, skills and positive feelings around X?

Why really is my child resisting/not enjoying/having a hard time with X?

Does my child really want to/need to do X?

And most importantly : How can I strengthen my relationship with my child so that my reasonable requests are more often respected?

I know this might seem like a bit much, a bit too considerate even. What this really is though, is skillful parenting/skillful management. Yes, it might take longer to learn and a bit longer to employ, but the results will speak for themselves…happier children and more cooperation. In time, this approach will save you time and will cut-down on the power struggles considerably.

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