I want to share something with you all, but I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I am not trying to impress you. I am not trying to increase my chances of being awarded ‘Parent of the Year’. My only goal is to share something that has helped me along my parenting journey, which is this: Coercion is unnecessary (and counterproductive)
My 2 year old son (Stegosaurus) says thank you. When he is given something to eat, when a toy is shared with him, whenever he is feeling grateful. Now, I have not once said to him, “Say thank you,” or, “What do you say?” So now, if you are wondering how such a small creature learns to do this without being told, I will not keep you in suspense. Tri-Sarah-tops and I thank him when he does something for us. We thank other people when they do something for him (unless he beats us to it) and we thank each other. Bam. Presto. It really is that easy. And the best part is that when he says it, he is not saying it because he was told to, but because he knows those words are used to express gratitude.
Ok, how about another example for the remaining skeptics. Water. My kids drink water when they’re thirsty. I have actually had other parents ask me, “Hey, how do you get those kids to drink water?” Well, when they were younger and said they were thirsty I gave them water. Tri-Sarah-tops and I drink water when we are thirsty. We take water with us when we go out, and lastly, we don’t push the issue. If they ask for juice or milk we give them juice or milk. Shazam. No coercion needed.
Now this all may seem like small potatoes, but there are many people out there who are locked in power struggles with their kids over issues as simple and seemingly insignificant as these. And here is the biggest problem. Not only are coercion and force unnecessary, they are extremely damaging to any relationship, and can drive a wedge between you and your child.
Thanks for reading,