Practical Parenting Tip – What to Do When Discussion Isn’t Working

By Catherine Calder

Having a reasonable discussion with your child can often be the successful way to deal with most situations. Unfortunately there will be a time when that isn’t going to work. So if you have gotten to this stage, where a discussion isn’t going to work, then you’ll need to try another technique.

Change your point of view

What about trying to look at the situation from the child’s point of view? If you were the child what would you want? How can you combine what you want with what the child wants? If you can think of a way so that both of you can have what you want, then it is a win-win situation.

An Example

Dale Carnegie in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” tells the story of a father returning home to find his youngest son, Tim, kicking and screaming on the living room floor. The boy was starting school the next day and didn’t want to go.

Looking at the situation from his son’s perspective the father considered what would excite the boy enough to make him want to go to school.

After talking it over with his wife they made up a list of things that Tim would be doing at school.

The parents decided that finger painting would be something that Tim would want to do. So they set up paints at the kitchen table and they started to finger paint with their older son. They were all having a lot of fun.

Tim watched them from the doorway for a bit and then asked to join in.

His father said “Oh no! You have to go to kindergarten first to learn how to finger paint.” He then described, enthusiastically, all the fun Tim would have at school and all the activities that Tim would enjoy.

Early next morning he found Tim asleep in a living room chair. The boy was so excited to be going to kindergarten that he was up early so that he wouldn’t be late for school.

The enthusiasm of the family had made Tim excited about the new adventure of starting school.

The Lesson

Try to look at the situation from the child’s point of view and see if you can work out a way to make your child excited about doing things rather than refusing to even consider them. See if you can come up with an idea that allows you both to have what you want. It will make life a lot easier and happier.

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