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Home » Positive Ways to Talk and Listen »

Don't Discuss Everything

Mom: We're leaving in five minutes. Boy: Ten. Mom: Five. Because it's time for dinner.

Be Clear When There Are No Choices

"Don't negotiate or talk about everything. At times, a parent simply needs to make a decision, explain why she's made it and then fulfill it. Discussing further may not help. But briefly explaining why will."

Michael Thompson, Ph.D.

Co-author, Raising Cain,Senior Project Advisor

Don't turn a statement into a question. Instead of saying, "It's time to leave the playground in five minutes, OK?" simply say, "We're leaving in five minutes." Don't ask for your child's permission. However, you might want to briefly explain your logic, remembering that an explanation is not the same as a negotiation.

Offer choices only when there really is a choice. Be clear about negotiable and non-negotiable situations. If your child refuses to go to school, you might say, "I know you don't feel like going to school today. We still have to leave in ten minutes."

Don't let discussions go on too long. If there really is no choice about the outcome, too much talking just postpones the inevitable. If need be, walk away from your child or get involved in some other activity.

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