I am very interested in Positive Discipline. I am reading Jane Nelsen’s book and I visit her website frequently.
My question is what to do when your kids do not cooperate, even after you stop punishing them and talk together about solutions? How long we need to wait until the shift in their attitude as well?
Mom of 3 in Brazil
Thank you so much for your question.
Unfortunately there is no quick fix in parenting. Kids need time to grow and develop. They don’t learn to listen and cooperate right away. That is our job as parents. We need to teach them these skills. Teaching kids how to listen and cooperate is tough. It takes a lot of trial and error from us, to see what really works for our family. It also involves a lot of mistakes on the part of our kids. They are not robots, they cannot listen on command.
That being said, if your kids are not cooperating even after you stop punishing and you talk about solutions then the best thing to do is go back to drawing board. Have your brainstorming session all over again.
It sounds like this:
Talk about your feelings:
“I am kind of frustrated. We agreed on jobs for cleaning up dinner and everyone seems to be having some trouble following through. Can we talk about this again?”
The key to a good problem solving session is to help the kids come up with their own solutions. Try to avoid telling them what to do.
Sometimes parents will give up in the middle and say, “Okay, so you want to split the jobs. Eli, you set the table, Sara you clear the table and Donny you put the dishes in the dishwasher.”
Instead you want to say:
“Okay we agreed to split the jobs. How is that going to work?”
The more you empower your kids to come up with solutions the more they will take responsibility for doing what they need to do.
You also want to spend some time reflecting feelings and arbitrating:
- So Sara, you don’t like clearing the table because the plates get all gooey from the food. Would setting the table work for you?
- Eli and Donny would you agree to that?
- So now, Eli and Donny, what do you think you can do to help clear off the table?
- Eli, you feel like setting the table is an easy job and Sara should do more than that.
- Sara, what do you think? Do you think you might be able to add sweeping?
- Donny, you don’t like sweeping but you don’t mind washing the dishes.
- Sounds like we have a plan, let’s try it for a week and see if we need to tweak it a bit.
Again, it does takes a while to come up with solutions that work for your family. I cannot even tell you how many brainstorming sessions we have had about jobs in the house.The maxim, Rome was not built in a day applies here. In the meantime you want to generate the feeling that you are a team and that you can work together to figure out any type of domestic problems.
To help you get some more ideas on how to engage your child’s cooperation, you might want to read these articles:
Here are some to some articles on helping kids cooperate.
Two Simple Ways To Help Your Child Listen
Child Not Listening:4 Simple Ways To Help Them Hear You
I hope this helps,