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Is it really possible to get our kids to do what we want without
a battle? Most of the time, yes, but it might take a new
approach. Many parents find it helpful to use words that
will get kids thinking rather than fighting. Compare the
following fighting words with the thinking words below.
You get your room cleaned up now!
You're not going to talk to me that way!
No way are you watching TV until homework is done!
Turn down the volume this minute!
Be nice to each other and quit fighting!
No talking on the phone until you clean up the kitchen!
You better be in by the time we agree on or else!
I told you to get the lawn mowed by lunch.
If this sounds like you, try substituting these thinking words instead.
Would you rather clean your room or pay me to do it?
I'll be happy to discuss this when your voice is as quiet as mine.
Feel free to watch TV when your homework is done.
Would it work out best for you to listen to your music with headphones on or to turn it down?
You guys are welcome to come back in the house when you work things out.
Feel free to use the telephone after the kitchen's cleaned up.
Do you want to negotiate a reasonable time to come home tonight or not go out at all?
Would you rather mow the lawn this morning or this afternoon?
See the difference? We're telling our children under what circumstances we'll be happy to help him/her out or we're offering choices. Either way, the child has to do the thinking about what will work out best for him/her. That's good because kids need as much practice as possible to prepare for the real world where he/she will face real world consequences for his decisions.
--Sandra Lessig, ParentWise, Inc.
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