Support for PBS Parents provided by:


  • Cat in the Hat
  • Curious George
  • Daniel Tiger
  • Dinosaur Train
  • Odd Squad
  • Peg + Cat
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Super Why!
  • Wild Kratts
  • Martha Speaks
  • WordGirl
  • Thomas & Friends
  • Arthur
  • Sesame Street
  • The Electric Company
  • Cyberchase
  • Between the Lions
  • Mama Mirabelle
  • Caillou
  • Chuck Vanderchuck
  • Oh Noah
  • Fetch!
  • Fizzy's Lunch Lab
  • Maya & Miguel
  • Mister Rogers
  • Postcards from Buster
  • Clifford
  • SciGirls
  • Wilson & Ditch
  • WordWorld
  • DragonFly TV
  • ZOOM
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.

NEXT ARTICLE: Age-by-Age Insights

Support for PBS Parents provided by: