Children’s Cooperation: Strategies for Encouraging It
When we consider how we interact with children, the lack of collaboration of children is fairly unsurprising. Here you’ll discover techniques for encouraging kids to cooperate as well as an explanation of why present approaches are ineffective.
There are a variety of reasons for meeting others’ needs, each coming from two opposing motivations: the first is the inherent desire that all human beings have to be nice to (and for) those we care about. The second is coercion, which could be internal or external, and both parents and children pay a high price for it.
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The fourth root of connection is belonging. Children have a natural need to collaborate, be a part of, and participate in the acts of those to whom they are related. Furthermore, children have a natural desire to comply with their parents’ wishes out of a sincere desire to do what is best for them, as collaborating fulfils their need for connection and belonging (you know, that happy smile when they do something you asked them to do and come to you for a hug). These four methods for getting your kids to cooperate can help you see that grin a little more often.
Consider the list of dos and don’ts your child faces every morning: get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, don’t make a mess, hurry up, get in the vehicle, go to school; the list is extensive and differs from one family to the next. In one sense, though, this list is always the same: it’s the list of expectations we have for our children. Each thing on this list would be a potential explosion if we weren’t linked to our children, and if our children weren’t attached to us and actively striving to collaborate. When there is a lack of connection and a sense of belonging, requests might seem like demands and be misinterpreted as coercion, which is the major entry point for counter-terrorism.
Why Encourage Cooperation
One of the first requests I make to parents who join my parent coaching programme is to think of an adult they like and write down the things they admire about that person. Hundreds of traits have been mentioned in response (balance, empathy, determination, self-awareness, generosity, mindfulness, and so on), but not a single parent has spoken obedient, subservient, or compliant. So why is it that the single characteristic we don’t want to see in our children once they’ve grown up is the one we’ve worked so hard to instil in them during their childhood?
Consider the rules. Rules are created for people who do not follow them, whereas those who do so naturally do not require them. Rules are thus tools that lead to sanctions meted out to those who break them. The majority of society does not need to be instructed not to kill; they do not murder because acts of violence do not fulfil their wants, not because it is against the law.
Raising humble and obedient children makes parenting a breeze. It’s not, however, what we desire for our children. We want them to stand up for what they believe in. We want kids to work hard to get what they need. We want them to be naturally decent people who pursue their hearts’ deepest desires.
What To Avoid Doing If You Want Your Kids To Communicate
Avoid Guilt and Shame
“Do I have to tell you how many times?”
“Why does it have to be this way with you all of the time?”
Consider the last time you collaborated with someone whose primary goal was to make you feel awful about yourself. And, if you did, how did that affect your feelings towards that individual? Isn’t that bad?
Since the beginnings of patriarchy, fear, guilt, and shame have ruled our culture. The idea that in order to help someone do better, we must first make them feel worse is the biggest cross-generational burden we all bear. It is life-changing to be free of this weight, to realize how life can be lived and how life may feel without these sentiments.
“At three…” says the narrator.
“There will be no time for a bedtime tale if you don’t put the toys away.”
At the count of three, we all know nothing will happen. Our children are also aware of this. They also understand that putting the toys away has no bearing on bedtime, time, or tales. Children, like adults, require that the punishment (fear conditioning) be natural in order for it to be considered a motivator.
For a detailed explanation of why threats don’t work, go here.
“How come you can’t be more like your brother, buddy, or nephew?”
We not only made our children feel awful and hurt their self-esteem by employing this approach, but we also ruined their relationship with the subject of comparison.
“Come!” “Now!” “Do the dishes!” “Go to bed!”
Do you enjoy being told what to do? Will following an order make you feel good about yourself or the one who gave you the command? No. It’s not going to happen. Children are no exception. They are, in fact, far more aware of their own wants and sentiments since they haven’t lost how to connect with their hearts.
We employ a variety of different techniques, such as lectures (children stop listening after three words), prophecies (which never come true), and blaming others (even though they might really be giving us a headache). They all have the following denominators in common:
- These techniques must be scaled up: what works for a two-year-old will not work for a four-year-old. Parents will find themselves purchasing a Bmw for their sixteen-year-old child in order to transport him to supper.
- These tactics constrain our relationship with children since they will stop doing things for you and will just do things to achieve the desired result.
- Because we read the bedtime tale because the toys were put away, rather than reading it because we wanted to, these methods pushed us, the parents, lower on the connection ladder (which is the same as our children doing something for the promised outcome).
All of the above may work (for a while) with small children and will not have a significant impact on connection, because the connection is all that children need from us at this age. Even if the connection is disrupted, they strive to restore it as soon as possible. We won’t be able to get them back at fourteen, though.
All of these methods are coercive in nature, separating us from the naturally wanted connection that allows everything to function. All we need is a little bit of patience.
Strategies to Encourage Children to Cooperate
A functioning approach is one that, regardless of the behavioural outcome, develops a connection (that can be reached in various ways).
When the desires of their parents fulfil their immediate needs, children will comply. Find a playful method to encourage them to collaborate if they need to play more (yes, it is a genuine need that childrens have). In other words, the parenting technique should constantly aim to satisfy the requirements of the kid. This implies we’ll have to think beyond the box.
When children’s needs and feelings are seen and heard, and when we have a connection, they are far more inclined to work with us. Before making a request, make eye contact or get close to the person.
In the heat of the moment, we shouldn’t anticipate collaboration. Children are far more aware of their wants than adults are, and when they are in a “poor mood,” they will refuse to listen or cooperate since our requests will always feel like a compulsion. Don’t go there if a child is in a foul mood or experiencing significant and difficult emotions. It’s going to be a disaster. Instead, utilize this method to deal with tantrums.
Consider shifting your focus to what matters most: a happy child and a healthy relationship. Yes, if you remain at the park longer than intended and have a good time, the approach succeeded. The plan succeeded when you and your child had a peaceful bedtime tale and fell asleep with a smile, even if it was a little later than normal. When your plan helps to build the bond between you and your kid, it works because there is only one thing that matters: the bond, the relationship, between you and your child.
We want our children to collaborate with us because they want to and because it fulfils their own needs. Cooperation is a given and good aspect of life once the link is established. Because – everyone wants to be in a happy relationship.
What are some examples of how these four techniques for gaining your children’s cooperation are used in the real world? Alternatively, why are there still filthy dishes in the sink and dirty clothing strewn over the house?