One of the first things I teach parents and therapists in training is…if it isn’t a choice DON’T ask!
So many times parents will bring their child into therapy and when it is time to leave the parent will ask “do you want to clean up?”…… "NO" will inevitably be the answer….my response is always “you asked” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
One of the most powerful parenting techniques is to tell your child what you want them to do and if you feel the need, then give choices within that command. For example…
"Time to clean up, do you want to clean up the cars or the blocks?”
"Time to go up to bed, do you want to be a cat or dog up the stairs?"
When you ask a child to do something you are giving them a choice and the option to respond with a "no". Unless you want a really long night, I am fairly certain going to bed isn’t a choice. When you give a child a command you are communicating that it isn’t a choice. If I get a fight, I remind them that it isn’t a choice and if they need I will help them. Children need direction and will be more cooperative and you will become more respected by your child when you let them know exactly what is expected. I also encourage parents and therapists to use commands rather than requests when it isn’t a choice so we are teaching children that we respect when they say "no".
This parenting tip will empower you to be a better parent and cut back on the “NOs”!
If transitions continue to become increasingly difficult implementing a visual schedule may be VERY helpful!
If you are looking for more behavior tips try downloading my Challenging Behaviors: 10 Strategies for Change!
Jennie Bjorem, M.A., CCC-SLP