Saturday, January 1, 2011
The Right Tool for the Job
As parents, we have to influence our kids. We have to keep them safe, teach them, create experiences for them, and structure their environment. But how?
It would be a beautiful life if all it took to be a good parent was to ask kids nicely. Unfortunately, and generally speaking, kids can be distracted, tired, overstimulated, upset--and frankly, clueless. Getting through to them can be a tall order.
So here are some ways to influence our kids, roughly in order from least coercive to most coercive. Also in order from emotional neutrality to greater use of emotional and/or physical force. It's not a complete list--if you notice something I've missed, feel free to comment.
1. asking nicely
2. asking (less nicely)
3. asking with a sharper tone of voice
6. asking with more volume
7. withholding attention
My first intention is not to pass judgment on any of these methods of influencing a child. My primary goal is to ask these questions:
How do you influence your kids?
Does the choice depend on how you're feeling, and how much support you have?
What are the good and bad things about each choice? (for the child, for you).