Using threats to motivate children – part 3

When I started thinking about the issue of threats, the final question that was rattling around in my mind was, ‘What do I do if I phrase things positively, and they still don’t do what I want them to?” 

The problem I was mentally running into is one that some of you may also have, remembering that love and strength go hand in hand.  Love isn’t weakness and doesn’t mean wimpy.  We aren’t give up our parental power just because we don’t use threats. 

What’s the purpose in changing the way we communicate with our children?  We don’t speak with love and respect just to get our kids to do what we want, as a nice way to manipulate them.  We speak to them in that way because that’s what they deserve, and it helps them grow into emotionally healthy people. 

Does that mean we’re doomed to have kids who won’t respond to what they’re told to do?  Of course not!  Wouldn’t you feel more motivated to do something when asked by someone who you knew respected you and believed in y0u?  The goal of communication is to build the relationship.  We want to build the relationship so that our kids want to do what we want.

But that’s takes time, and even if they love us to pieces doesn’t mean that they’re willing to override what’s more comfortable for them at that moment, right?  So back to the original question, what do you do when they don’t listen?

The same thing you would do otherwise.  You step in and help them do what you’re telling them.  The child is throwing something and continues, you remove the ball.  They need to clean the room, you work with them.  You tell them to stop slamming the door and they slam it again, you have them practice closing and opening it ten times nicely.  You take concrete action to show that you mean what you say and that you back your words with action.  That action isn’t punitive, it isn’t threatening.  It shouldn’t be done in an angry or frustrated way.  You are being matter of fact, firm, and friendly, and showing your child that you will take the necessary steps to teach them to do what they should.


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