Bekka’s 8 keys to increase your child’s compliance and decrease conflict at
1. Know what you expect from your children and make sure they know what to expect in return
This means that you must take the time to really think about and decide what you expect from your kids on a daily and weekly basis and, then, make sure they know too.
This includes 3 crucial parts:YOUR A. Rules
E.G. Your bed is made every single morning before you come into breakfast, homework is done before dinner every night, dinner is eaten at the table with the family, bedtime is 8:30 on weeknights and 10 on weekends, etc.
I once saw a family who came to therapy wanting desperately for their 14-year-old son to follow the rules of the house. This young man was staying out late during the week and running up their internet bill by looking at costly sites every week. When I asked him which rules he found it easiest to follow, both he and his mom spoke immediately about how he makes his bed every single morning before doing anything else. I was so puzzled by this; I asked him what it was about this particular rule that made it so important for him to follow. He answered, “It’s just ALWAYS been the rule, and if I don’t do it, then I can’t do anything else…I mean, she’s strict about this one, so it’s just easier to do it so I can eat breakfast every morning and not be late to school.” So without realizing it, this mom had ALREADY made a blueprint for herself around how to get her son to follow rules in the home. We got the details of what worked with this bed-making rule and a few others he found it easier to follow, and applied them to the rules mom wanted him to follow closer. Within weeks, this young man was getting home by curfew more often and respecting the limitations mom set for the privilege of using the internet.
As you decide on and state these rules clearly to your children, (and we’ll get into this much more in a future tip), make sure you put the rule in a positive statement (e.g. what to do rather than what not to do, so, the rule is “our shoes stay in the doorway”, rather than the rule being “no shoes on the carpet”). Like I said, I’ll explore the importance of this in detail with a later tip.
Of the 3 crucial pieces, the rules have to come first, so spend some time thinking about what rules you have and talk to your kids about them. In the example above, the rule of making his bed was so clear to the young man that it was easy for him to follow. A huge part of increasing his compliance around curfew and internet use was simply defining those rules in specific terms. So take some time, refine your rules (even write them out if you want), and make sure you and your kiddos are clear about what the rules of your house are.
Look for pieces B and C of tip 1 here next week. Good luck, and please email me with any questions or comments. If you’re having success, let me know in the email if it’s ok for me to post it, and I might put your story up here to encourage other parents!