Ideas for Not Giving In

Ideas for Not Giving In

What can you do when you are too tired to insist on compliance? Or you are sick and can’t follow through? Or you are working on a big project and have no time to spare?  Most caregivers find themselves in these situations now and then. The temptation is to just give in. To say things like ‘never mind,’ or ‘fine, you win,’ or 'just do what you want.'

There are many ways to increase compliance, such as explaining, demonstrating, giving choices, or using rewards and consequences. One of the absolutely most important is following through. That is, when you give a direction, be prepared to help the child actually follow the direction, now.  Following through is a powerful way to help children learn to follow directions.

It is so important to follow through once a direction is given, that I often advise parents and other caregivers to ‘let it go’ if they do not have the energy to follow through right now. That is, don’t give the direction at all if you don’t think you can follow through. Don’t just hope for the best. If you have a head ache or just received bad news at work, maybe it would be okay to skip a bath tonight rather than argue about bath time with your child.  Maybe everyone can help pick up toys or the child can finish homework in the morning rather than tonight. Try to be flexible when you are feeling stressed. This can be hard because when we are stressed, we tend to be more rigid!

Another fallback position, once a direction is given, and you see that you cannot follow through right now, is to say ‘I changed my mind.’ That way the power stays with the adult and does not fall to the child when the direction is not followed.

Remember that children feel most secure when adults are in charge. Try not to give in. First, if you cannot follow through, try not to give the direction at all. Second, if you have already given the direction, try saying you changed your mind. Following through, and taking charge of when you follow through, are some of the most powerful tools in your parenting tool kit.

Blog Disclaimer:  Please be aware that this blog contains general information. It is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as treatment or a recommendation or prescription for a particular child. If you have questions about your child, please talk to your pediatrician or seek other professional services.