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  3. Obedience Has A New Name, And Its Called 'Being Cooperative'.

Obedience Has A New Name, And Its Called 'Being Cooperative'.

Akanksha Deshpande Akanksha Deshpande 5 Mins Read

Akanksha Deshpande Akanksha Deshpande


Get your child to cooperate with you. It could take the sting out of disobedience

Toddler to Parent
Obedience Has A New Name, And Its Called 'Being Cooperative'.

What is the toughest lesson to teach a toddler? The answer to this question may vary, but teaching obedience would certainly figure on the top of the list.

Do you often give up when your child refuses to heed your call to return from the park? Is dressing her up always a Herculean task for you? Do you often give in to her tantrums and end up buying her what she demands? If yes, then read on. After reading this article, I am sure you'll find yourself better equipped to handle a disobedient child.

But before we discuss the reasons and solutions for disobedience in toddlers, let's understand what obedience means. Stanley Milgram conducted an experiment in which he found that 'obedience is compliance with commands given by an authority figure'.

Parents must understand that children are different from adults. While adults are guided by logic, children are governed by emotions. So, children may not be willing to comply every time they are expected to. Also, curiosity, bad mood, or confusion can affect their willingness to comply.

But by bringing about a change in a child's emotional state, parents can make them more receptive to what is being asked of them.

Easy Ways to Make Your Child Cooperate With You

Use Positive Language

Parents often use negative language to communicate with their children. For example, 'don't jump', 'don't spill water from the glass', 'stop coloring', 'do not litter around', 'don't have food on the bed', etc.

Ask yourself, 'Did you enjoy listening to 'No' or 'don't' when you were young?' Or do you like to listen to these two negative words even today? The answer most likely is no. In fact, none of us like to be at the receiving end of negative language.

So, try to use positive statements when you are talking to your child. For example, you can say 'Sit down' instead of saying 'Don't jump', or 'Hold the glass of water with both your hands' instead of 'Don't spill water from the glass'.

Connect with your child

Try to connect with your child, before giving her directions. When you want her to switch from one activity to another, inform her what you expect her to do in the next few minutes. This will help her transit to what she should do next and also make her more receptive to what she needs to do.

Remember, trying to force children to do something by yelling at or hitting them doesn't help. Instead, try to move closer to them, maintain eye contact, and express what is expected of them.

For example, your child is busy playing on the slide in the park. Standing some distance away from her, you ask her to stop playing and rush to the car. Chances are that she may not obey you.

On the contrary, move closer to her, maintain eye contact, and try saying, "Wow! You seem to be having great fun on the slide, but you must be hungry. Let's go home and grab your favorite food". This will help redirect your child's attention from the slide and focus it on the area of concern (food), and there is every possibility that she will follow you happily.

Give Choices and Sometimes Illusions of Choices

As children grow, they want to control more and more aspects of their life. Giving choices is one way of giving them control but on terms set by parents.

State all your directions as choices when you can. Instead of saying, "You need to get dressed now", try saying, "Do you want to put on your shirt or pant first?" Similarly, avoid making something sound like a choice when 'No' is not an option. For example, do not say, "Can you come to the dinner table?"

Be a Role Model

Often there are different sets of rules for different members of the family, especially when living in a joint or extended family.

In such a situation, it is important for your child to see his parents as role models. So, if you want your child to brush twice a day, take the lead and start doing yourself what you want him to do. Similarly, if you want him to learn to listen attentively to you, pay complete attention when he wants to communicate with you; stop doing whatever you may be busy with at that time.

Be Consistent in your Expectations and Abide by them

Be consistent in what you expect from your child. Your child is more likely to accept clear and consistent expectations. Also, let her know in advance the consequences of not following important instructions.

For example, "First, wear your shoes, then you can play in the garden". Or "If you put that toy in your mouth again, I will have to take it away".

Once you've issued a directive to your child, follow through on the consequence if she doesn't comply.

But if your child is cooperative, acknowledge it with abundant praise. For example, "Good! Thank you for doing what I asked you to do!"

Don't Take Misbehaviour Personally

Be kind to yourself. Don't be ashamed of your child's misbehavior. Remember, your child's behavior is not a reflection of your parenting skills. So, avoid evaluating yourself, and accept that your child is probably having a hard time with something.

In a nutshell, no disciplinary actions can guarantee a well-behaved child all the time. Always remember that incivility, impulsivity, and a carefree mind is what differentiates a child from an adult.

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