~ Questions and Answers ~
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Mike: What do you do when a child just will not do what you ask the child to do?
Reason with the child! Explain! Ask the child to talk with you, to say what he or she thinks! Above all, remember to work with the child rather than against the child. Be on the child's side because you are, aren't you? You, as a parent, are hardly against the child. Perhaps some parents have read that hitting the child is the way to teach the child, but please think about that. What is a better way to teach a child, hitting or talking and explaining? Why act as if you are against the child when really you want to help the child be the best he or she can be!
If the parent works with the child instead of against the child, what you asked is not likely to even happen! The child will know that you want to help and explain and make the child happy with life. It is wonderful and easy
Respecting the child as a worthy human being from the moment the child is born helps the child realize that he or she is, indeed, worthy! Isn't that what a parent wants? Feeling happy with one's life is so important. Those who do not like themselves, who do not feel comfortable as a respected human being are those that sometimes hurt themselves or others, sometimes in very big ways. Self hate is the start of hate towards others. Important!
Some parents, unfortunately, have been told that obedience is important. That was the question here. The child will not obey me. Think about it. The child a parent brings into the world is not an unworthy servant to the parent, but a brand new human being ready to learn from the parent. A kind parent makes a huge difference. Punishment is harmful. Talking and explaining and discussing with the child is the way! As Bruno Bettelheim wrote:
"Punishment may make us obey the orders that are given but at best will only teach an obedience to authority not a self-control which enhances our self-respect."
The parent really chooses whether the child will be unhappy with life or happy and kind to others.
Sara: I need your book now. My children are testing me...testing me!!!
Please try this, it will work. If they are "testing" you, then take the test. You need to do that! Ask your child to come sit by you on a sofa and talk. Take two coca colas or two lemonades or whatever the child likes. Do not be hurried. This is important. You care about helping your child, don't you? If so, please do this! You will be glad you did. Ask your child to talk, to tell you whatever the child feels is bothering him or her. Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen to anything the child wants to talk about. Say nothing. Just listen. Then hug the child. Maybe say you are sorry about whatever the child says has been bothering him. Say you are sorry you have caused any unhappiness for the child, and.... most probably... if you think this is true...say you want to be on his or her side, and say you want to be a help from now on. Say you can change! Say that you just read something, or whatever is true, that is making you think you should have been different in the past. You thought what you were doing was best but now you realize you should have been less bossy and always on his side, deciding things together. Say you want to do that because you want him or her to be happy.
(If, in the past, your relationship with child had been at all unpleasant, take the blame for it because it is probably your fault. If from the beginning, the child had known you want to help him or her always, that you are on the same side, that you are not planning to be a dictator but a caring mother who wanted to make her child happy with life, then the child would not be "testing" you now. Instead you would be having fun.)
And then smiling happily say you are glad to be listening and hope you had not been unkind. Say you want to be kind always and perhaps you need to change. Then ask your child to remind you if you ever act grumpy with him or her. Apologize. Start over. Ask your child to help you be a better mother. Say you really mean that. And then start enjoying being really kind, really helpful, and really interested in having your child enjoy wonderful life. Be different from what you were.
You will be glad. Have fun. Enjoy every minute with your child. It is definitely possible and up to you, the parent, to make it happen!