“I would NEVER talk back to my parents like that!” Sound familiar?
You can experience success with your child if you focus on acknowledging their struggle to comply.
But Megghan, isn’t that coddling? Don’t I look like I’m giving in if I say it’s ok for them to be sad about not getting their way?
As much as you want to say “tough shit” when they whine about your expectation, keep in mind that a hard line like that can breed resentment in your child. If your boss asked you to stay late, but phrased it like this: “I know you want to get home to your family but I need you to stay to resolve this issue before you go.” You’d probably talk less under your breath than if she said “you’re gonna have to stay late; if you don’t like it, get another job.” A few more interactions like that and you’ll be updating your resume.
The same goes for your child. “I know it’s hard to quit playing and clean your room. You wish you didn’t have to do it, but I need you to do that before dinner.” Those first two sentences can go a long way in helping a child feel understood in their disappointment. When children feel understood they are less likely to act out to explain their feelings.
I’m not proposing you change your expectations, completing chores before playing is a reasonable responsibility for a child.
Empathizing with your child’s feelings can help facilitate their movement toward compliance with (less) grumbling. Continue this pattern and you’ll likely see a decrease in their attempts to fight back.
Check back soon for more tips how to use empathy and validation effectively!