You’re in the home stretch. Dinner is done. Toys have been tidied. PJs are on. You have storybooks in hand, and there is just one more thing to do. “Time to brush your teeth,” you tell your 5-year-old, who looks at you and yells, “NO!” then runs in the opposite direction.
You wonder why you are surprised since this happens most nights. You could pull them out from under the bed where you know they are hiding, and bring them kicking and screaming to the bathroom (reminding them how they need to brush their teeth to avoid cavities). You could give in and tell them their teeth have to be done tomorrow (and face the same argument all over again then.) You could offer a barter. An extra book and a song in return for compliance. However, you know they will string out negotiations and your frustration will hit new levels.
But bribes, rewards and forcing a child do not work long-term.
When children resist doing things that need to be done, our options can feel limited. And none of the above strategies prove useful for long. Forcing a child to do something feels harsh and diminishes trust. Giving in shows a child that when they go off-track, you cave in, and puts them in a position of too much authority for their young years. And bartering and rewards have been shown to reduce children’s intrinsic motivation; in addition, they continue the struggle between you.
When a child refuses to do what you ask, there are hidden reasons. Our kids don’t deliberately say no just to push our buttons. When they do say no, it’s because their feelings and emotions have overwhelmed their ability to think and cooperate. Saying “No!” is a signal that your attention on the subject is needed. The options above are temporary solutions based on wielding power over an already anxious child, or on giving up forging a healthy solution that pleases both of you.
Here’s an approach that fosters trust, partnership and co-regulation. It involves discovering a supportive way to work with your child to dissolve the feelings driving their resistance, until they’re happy to be part of the solution.
With some forward planning, your child will soon feel able to do more of the things you ask. You can think of it as the Seven C’s For Holding An Expectation.
Continuing process: When setting limits, adopt a long-term view
Choose: Decide which request you want to work on
Cultivate: Lay the groundwork with both yourself and your child
Communicate/consent: Set the expectations limit when things are calm
Confidence: Hold the expectation
Calm: Calm and helpful responses to use when your child says no
Care: Respond with listening and care when your child says no
1. Continuing process: Adopt a long-term view
We often think of limit-setting as something that has to happen quickly, when we ask and without delay. And we seek quick fixes when we don’t get immediate obedience. In this fresh approach, it’s important to see limit-setting as an ongoing project. We will …read more
Source:: Daily times