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No, I'm Not Doing That!

HOW TO BE A CREATIVE PARENT

Some children are just built to challenge you and test your boundaries of what they can get away with. Some children are just plain stubborn unless they get what they want when they want. Here are some things that we see from stubborn children.

- Constantly fighting with them to get them to do things?
- Taking forever to do something you asked them to do?
- Is following directions always a challenge for your child?
- Do they always want to have the final word?
- Reluctant to share anything, toys, food, games, etc.?

I know that it can be so frustrating and difficult to deal with children when they are being like this. Typically, we either give in or walk away because we don’t want to yell at them or get mad. Or we do yell at them and most times we regret what we said or did. While we need to get our kids to listen and follow directions we also need to find ways to get them to do this without so much fuss and difficulty.

Call it stubborn or strong-willed or whatever you like. If you're living with one of these guys, you know that straightforward methods of getting them to follow directions or behave often don't work. They want to be in charge. But, of course, so do you!

Instead of verbal sparring with your child try doing some “Creative Parenting”. I like to think outside the box when it comes to children. The more positive and creative we can be I think you’ll find that your children will be more receptive to what you are asking of them.

When you want your child to do something make sure to include them in the decision-making process. Everyone likes to be included when it comes to doing things. Kids aren’t any different. When you include them, it gives them some ownership and understanding that they had a voice in what choices were being made. Of course, you need to steer them in the right direction but giving them a choice is what is most important.

What do young children like to do most? I’d bet your child would like to play more than anything else. So why not “play” with them to get them to do what you want? Be creative in getting them to do things.

Chore Wars:

Kids love to play with their toys and then move on to the next thing to do, toys still out and laying all over the place. For this I would set a timer and say, let’s see who can pick up the most toys in 30 seconds.

Play the “Helper” card:

Ask them, “would you like to be my special helper for putting away the dishes”? You were so awesome the other day when you helped me put away all your toys.

Be Positive:

Be encouraging and supportive. Instead of saying “We can't go to the park until your toys are put away!” try “As soon as your toys are put away, we get to go to the park!” If your child replies “But I really wanna go play with Brandon,” instead of nagging him about what he has to do to earn that privilege, smile brightly and say “Why yes, you certainly can do that…as soon as all your toys are picked up.”

Tune In:

Music is a great way to change the mood of a person or the setting of the moment. When it is time for bed or almost any other difficult task that you know is coming with your child try using music to help set the tone for the moment. Music can be calming and relax a person’s demeanor. So find their favorite song, make sure it is something that isn’t too crazy but one that helps them to focus and calm down.

Play the “Yes” game:

Getting your child to say yes at least three times in a row starts to set a more positive and inviting tone. Whatever it is that your child is doing think of questions that they would say yes to. If it is bath time and you know they give you trouble knowing that what comes next is bedtime and they don’t want any part of that they may fight you to get out of the bath. Try asking some simple questions that you know they will probably say yes to.  “Wow, you're having a great time playing with those bath toys, aren't you?” (Yep!) “What about bringing your swimming goggles into the bath with you next time? Would that be fun?” (Hey, yeah, that's a good idea!) “Does that dinosaur float? Can you show me?” (Sure, I can! Just watch this!) 

You can use these strategies with almost any child from very young to their pre-teen years. You just must tailor your strategies to their age and what they are doing. Understand them, give them some choices, make them feel like part of the solution not part of the problem. Stand by your decisions but help them make good choices.

You are smarter than your child, don’t let them be smarter than you!

Yours truly for Awesome and Amazing children,

Sensei Randy Kopke



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