It can be very frustrating when we want our kids to obey us, to follow us or to cooperate with us and they are resisting. We do so many things to try and get their compliance, from punishing to communicating to explaining. Sometimes it works and we get that compliance, sometimes it doesn’t.
In these situations I would like us think deeply if this really is a situation where we need their cooperation. I mean really, functionally need it.
They Need Our Cooperation More
I have observed that in the majority of cases where we think we need their cooperation in fact it’s actually the other way around. Our kids can be stubborn because they really need OUR cooperation.
In 80 – 90% of cases I would like to see us transform our desire for their cooperation to us following them. If we reserve the other for a mere 10 – 20% it will make a big difference in how we relate to our kids and how they relate to us.
Inspire a Strong Self-Image
We want them to believe in themselves.
We want them to know that we believe in them!
When we experience stubbornness we can tell them that we love their strong spirit and that they really know what they want. This gives them a positive self-image. It helps them to look within to see what feels right to them. This is the beginning of self-evaluation, self-awareness and independent decision making.
Our Actions Must Backup Our Words
If we tell them “I love how you think for yourself. ” And then ask them to follow OUR thinking instead, it’s a lukewarm message we are giving them. We’re not really LOVING their thinking at that moment. They will feel this and not believe that we believe in them.
For if our actions do not reflect our words then the belief in their own strength and agency won’t go as deep. Instead let us demonstrate that LOVE by actually following them.
Of course this doesn’t apply to times when you’re going to lose your job if you’re late or they’re going to touch a hot stove. Emergency, danger or serious scheduling situations aside, in every other instance we can follow their lead.
It is this kind of consistency that will reinforce the message of their inner strength and power more than anything.