Tip to Prevent Power Struggles: Make Agreements Ahead of Time!

Have you ever noticed that when you ask your child to do something (such as take a bath, do homework, clean up the toys etc.) you are either met with:
a) a blank stare
b) no response
or
c) a great big “NO!”?

Yep, we’ve ALL been there!

Imagine how it would feel if someone close to you came into your space asking you to do something that really wasn’t important to you at that moment. Would you respond with a simple “Ok,” or might you feel irritated, annoyed and upset that this person wasn’t considering your needs, your agenda, your time…?

Our kids are no different. They have agendas of their own, and deserve the same respect we would expect.

So, next time, with this in mind, try making an agreement with your child in advance, kindly and respectfully – the same way you would want someone to speak to you.

Say, for example, your child’s room is a mess and you want him to pick up his toys. Sit down with your child at a calm time and begin by acknowledging how much he enjoys playing and how you love to see him so engaged with all of his fun toys. Then, kindly explain that a messy room doesn’t work for you and that you would appreciate if he could pick up his toys and put them away when he is done using them.

For example, “Sweetie, I love knowing how much you love playing with your toys. They are super fun, aren’t they? Seeing the toys everywhere doesn’t work for me as it leaves a mess and someone could trip or get hurt. So, I would really appreciate if you could please put your toys away when you are finished playing with them. Do we have an agreement?” Then, be sure to follow up with, “So, what is our agreement?” Lastly, a simple, “Thank you for your help in solving that problem…it sure helps when we can find solutions together!”

When we take the time to acknowledge that our kids have agendas of their own and make our requests in a way that demonstrates kindness and respect, we model the very behavior we want to see (respect, problem solving, kindness) and increase our chances of hearing “Ok, Mom/Dad.” when those requests are made!

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