Correcting & Encouraging You Child
This article is an overview of some proper techniques that can be used by a parent to encourage their child to help them build a bridge to a better relationship and teach their child how to be a more productive member of the family.
First of all COERCION DOES NOT WORK. What I mean by coercion is: “Do your homework or else!”
Coercion is defined as: to restrain or dominate by force; to achieve by force of threat.
In order to be a parent you must first learn how to take a Leadership Role with your child. In other words you don’t push a string if you want it to move across the table; you have to pull it. By learning how to take a leadership role you and your child will have an improved and more stable relationship.
Example: “Let’s see your homework for today, and we will sit down together and go over it.”
In the above phrase you have taken the Leadership Role by not just demanding that they do their homework or else “they can’t go outside to play.” Instead, you have taken an active leadership role by guiding them through the work assignments, by providing support, and by encouragement through your participation.
As mentioned before, these techniques work through participation and therefore require your time and energy. There is no way around this; it is your responsibility, as well as your commitment, as a parent. With that said, since you are “dealing with your child” anyway, you might as well do it the right way.
That’s where Positive Encouragement fits in with the other techniques. Always take the positive side in response to your child — even a positive tone of voice. If a mistake is made in their work, first praise the effort (even if there was barely any effort) made in performing the task. Then talk them through how to be successful with their problem, whether it is homework or difficulty doing their chores.
Once you have sat down with your child to go over their homework you should complete the first few problems/questions with them, before going back to your own tasks. However, you should not go very far away from your child — stay within sight of each other. This gives them a sense of security knowing you are right there to help if they need it. Once your child is done with homework, you should then sit with them and review their assignment. Don’t wait until your TV program is off or your dishes are done. It’s very important to make their homework the number one priority. If you postpone checking their homework until later, you are teaching your child how to procrastinate. You are also sending them a strong message that schoolwork IS NOT a priority. That would be a total contradiction with what you are trying to achieve. You are supposed to be taking the Leadership Role, which means you “Lead by Example”.
So now that we have covered “Leadership Role, “Positive Encouragement”, and “Involvement,” lets look at another reason your child may give you for not wanting to do their homework, as well as some possible responses you may make using the above techniques.
(Child) I am too tired to do my homework right now. Please, can’t I do it later?
(Parent) I know you did a lot today at school, and I’ll bet you are tired. Well, let’s look at your choices: you could do your homework right now, and I will help you with all of it. Or, you can go to bed now, and we’ll get up an hour early (or whatever amount of time would be appropriate) to do it then.
The above example is intended for a legitimately exhausted child, not an excuse for them to get out of doing homework to play or watch TV. So, therefore if your child chooses the second option, they must go to bed at that time and not 30 minutes later.
Now let’s break down the above example and look at how all the elements have been used.
First, there is No Coercion present by forcing your child to do the homework now “or else.” Instead, you are showing your child empathy by agreeing that they are probably tired. Second, you have taken the Leadership Role by giving them choices about when to do their homework. Third, you are giving them Positive Encouragementby telling them you will help them with all of their homework whether it is done now or in the morning. The last element is the Involvement of your time and energy, as seen by getting up an extra hour early to support and guide your child through their assignment.
I used Homework for an example in this article, but these techniques can be used in any situation where your child is being oppositional. “By applying the above techniques you can stop the power struggle between yourself and your child. Instead of being against your child in an argument, you will have moved along side of them giving empathy and teaching problem solving. By giving your child a voice where they feel heard and understood, you have begun to build a bridge of communication and mutual respect in your relationship.”
Now I know that many, if not all of you are shouting, “How can I do this for the next 18 yrs?” Well, you do not have to. According to Russell, once your child learns from your use of these techniques, your child will develop self motivation to achieve tasks own their own. This makes them a productive member of the family.