Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Helping parents set more effective rules and avoid the reasoning and escalation trap

When working with parents, one of the most common traps I see, is when parents try to reason with their young children, especially in heat of the moment.

This can lead to another trap.... The escalation trap.

Of course, it’s good to explain and reason with our children if they don’t understand, but ideally, this is done when the rule is set.

When setting rules, we aim for the following.

1. Keep it clear and simple. 
2. Do’s rather than don’ts. 
3. Make it fair.  
4. Involve the child and get a “buy in”. Ideally, the rules resonate with them as “good and sensible” too, rather than something that is simply “forced upon” them.  If we have a “buy in”, then there will less resistance and resentment with better compliance. Better compliance leads to less escalation, less conflict, less stress, and more calm in the house. 
5. Have reasonable number of rules. Avoid having so many that they cannot remember. 
6. Agree on fair consequences. 
7. Consequences are better if predetermined and agreed upon rather than made up on the spot.  Natural consequences can work well too. 
8. Be consistent. 

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