“Zed, I need you to take out the trash,” or “I want you to stop playing that video game.”
These statements seem pretty harmless. They will often jump start Zed into doing what I ask. However, by using want or need, it sounds like I want or need something personal for myself. This is not the message I am trying to get across.
What I really want to make sure Zed knows is that it is his responsibility to do his chores or follow the rules.
Here’s another way:
“Zed, it’s your responsibility to take out the trash.”
“Zed, the rule is: No video games on a school night.”
The message is clear. Zed has certain responsibilities as part of our family. He follows through, not because I want him to, but because it is the responsible thing to do. He also seems to respond better to my requests when I take myself out of the request.
This is one parenting tip that I have used over and over until now it’s part of our family system.
See if you can catch yourself this week. When do you find yourself using the personal “want” or “need”? What more could you be teaching your child just by simply re-phrasing your requests, helping them to clearly see their responsibilities?