How do I ‘get’ my child to do what I want?

Each day, in my Facebook Group, I post a question to invite discussion.

Yesterday, in a discussion about food, one of the members said, “I think this is how a lot of parents whose kids eat adventurously, got them to eat adventurously: they didn’t”.

So true. So clear. So brilliant.

•••• Where are you trying to ‘get’ your children to do or be certain things? How can you say Yes to who your child is right now in that area, at this stage in their lives?” ••••

I catch this thought pattern quite quickly now. It doesn’t mean I don’t think it (I used to be a very controlling woman and old habits die hard!) but I have learned to notice the thought before I act on it.

An example for me would be “How do I get Jos (my youngest son) to tell me when something is bothering him without him starting from a place of moaning and whining?”

– Here’s the thing. Jos is 9. Right now, his best attempt at communicating what’s not right for him is moaning and whining. I’m glad he chooses to come and tell me these things because in a few years I want him to come and tell me when his peers are pressuring him, or a friend is being bullied or he is really unhappy in a life choice he has made.

Most of the time I say Yes to who he is right now by remaining calm, being completely present, opening up my arms to offer a hug, and listening closely. We resolve whatever it is (even if resolution is just consistent empathy leading to his acceptance of the situation). And once it is resolved we talk about other ways to tell me his frustrations or disappointments that don’t involve moaning and whining.

Then there are the other times when I am tired or grumpy and I moan straight back at him, or worse, lose my temper! Then the process takes even longer because I first have to stop, apologise, reconnect and then we can move into the space he needs me to be in.

What about you? Do you notice that thought pattern in yourself, whether it’s about a colleague, your partner or your kids?