Which one would you use when giving your child directions,
That room is a mess, clean it up!
Your room needs cleaning, please do that now.
Stop the yelling!
Use inside voices or go outside and play.
Look at what your muddy shoes did to my floor!
Your shoes are muddy, please take them off and clean up the mess.
After reading each sample above, which one sounds better,
In each example they both basically imply the same message but the first is more accusatory. The second is clear and concise on the issue and directive. The first displays anger, the second message speaks directly to the problem as well as the solution.
It is important to send a message to your children that you are correcting a situation not criticizing the child. Children hear demands and negatives as threatening. Children need to hear what they are doing wrong and how to correct the situation.
Children internalize messages similar to us adults. They feel hurt when they are chastised and although our job, as parents, is to teach our children, we need to be careful the message they are receiving.
Most of us get tired of repeating ourselves. When we feel we have said it enough times, whether it be that particular day or this is the same song we have sang too many times, we get frustrated and our tempers can begin to flare. Sending the wrong message can do more damage. Children will shrink from harsh words rather than resolve the situation.
Before you are frustrated and tired of repeating yourself, take a stand. Tell the child, in a loving but firm tone, that they must follow your directions before they can do anything else. If their room needs cleaned, shut off their t.v. and all other entertainment devices, take them to their room and either help them get started or leave them in there until the job is done (depending on their age, ability and task.) The first few times may be a battle and it may exhaust you but children learn quickly. If they figure out you mean business they will lose their desire to be obstinate and complete the task. The next time you direct them they will take you more seriously and the frustration level will decrease.
Remember, keep your messages loving but firm, clear and concise and specifically about the problem, not the child. Make sure your message states the problem as well as a solution.