You begin to think about something, something that you want. Perhaps you want your child to go to bed on time or be safe on social media or to visit grandma. It starts with a little subtle thought perhaps at dinner: Gosh I am tired, I wish the kids would go to bed on time. While cleaning up dinner, you start thinking more and more how you like the kids to go to bed or how wonderful it would be to have some alone time to read. You may even share this thought with your partner; "Gosh I am tired tonight, I wish the kids would go to bed early so I can read my book".
...and then comes bedtime....
You tell the kids: "It is bedtime! Go brush your teeth! And the children, who have had their own thoughts about how they were going to spend their evening are not excited the way you are because they haven't been part of that thought process since dinner. So the children resist because they came into it later and you get frustrated by their resistance. And so the nightly power struggle begins. Or the homework struggle, or the piano practicing struggle, or the screen time struggle.
The kids are not motivated because they have not been part of that initial thought process. Most parents tell their children what to do and then don't understand why the child is not listening or participating.
What is so important, is to communicate more fully with your children. If you clearly state what you want ahead of time (as soon as you start thinking about it) and make plans together (talk about what the rest of the evening is going to look like for everyone) rather then launching your own plan and imposing them upon your child later, you will have much more success in your relationships with your children.
You can yell at them, you can set rules and restrictions, you can offer your disapproval all you want, but you can not inspire them to do things or instill inner motivation unless you let them be part of the decision making process.
If you want to learn how to communicate more fully, how to inspire your children to do things, how to instill inner motivation, then sign up today for our next round of Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) classes.
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