The one surefire way to get your kids to cooperate is to lead with acceptance.
Make acceptance of who your children are the STARTING point in your parenting, not something you give conditionally when they meet your expectations. Why is this so important? Because each of us has a fundamental need to be understood and accepted exactly as we are. It’s a basic human need, and a very powerful one. If our parents don’t fill this need, we will seek approval and acceptance wherever we can find it. Gangs, predators, fringe elements. We all need to feel that we belong!
OK, all well and good, but here’s the thing about acceptance, and lack of acceptance that I want to make sure parents understand. When you feel accepted as you are it creates a strong bond of connection. When you feel warmly connected to someone, YOU WANT TO PLEASE THEM. (Sorry for the all caps shouting, it’s my inborn intensity.) When you want to please someone, you cooperate with them.
Kids who learn that they are A-OK, precious, and unique exactly as they are feel deeply connected and want to please their parents (I’m not talking about normal developmental stages such as the twos and puberty where becoming more independent is necessary and good). Think about your own experience. Remember back to the first person who really GOT you, who thought you were special, saw the good in you and reflected it back to you. How did you feel about this person? Most likely, you would have done anything for them!
I remember my third and fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Bwy. I felt so deeply understood by her. This example might sound trivial, but it was memorable for me. I won a homonym contest and the prize was a chain of 28 sour apple bubble gum balls. My classmates wanted me to share with them. They kept pestering me, so I went to Mrs. Bwy in tears, telling her I didn’t want to share. She reassured me that it was just fine…the prize was for my hard work and there was no reason I needed to share it. At home, I felt like a greedy person. Not with Mrs. Bwy. She just GOT me. I adored her and was eager to please her.
Create deep connection in your family with acceptance. Your child will want to please you.
For more information about inborn traits, see this video, and make sure you’ve received my free report, The Key to Understanding Your Child: The Nine Traits of the CoreSelf, by signing up in the right column of this page.