What This Is Like from a Parent’s Perspective

 


There are things that our kids just have to do, even if they are boring. They have to brush their teeth, take baths, and put on their shoes.

But most of the time when you ask them to to these things,

they don’t listen until you nag them over and over…

or just don’t do what you ask and you have to punish them…

You’re just not sure how to get them to do what they’re supposed to do without having to argue over everything.

 

What This Is Like From a Child’s Perspective

 

Children are biologically wired for stimulation and novelty. So for them, it’s not just hard to do boring things; it goes against their nature

So when they start to do something that is boring for them, 

…they keep getting distracted by things that are more engaging (which is, basically, anything else).

…they forget what they’re supposed to be doing and their mind wanders

Often they’re not trying to be defiant. They just don’t know how to stay on task when they have to do something that is just not interesting them.

 

 

How It Usually Goes When

Kids Won’t Do Boring Tasks

 

Scenario: Julian’s dad has asked Julian to put his folded clothes away in his drawers. He left Julian for a few minutes to go do something, and when he came back into his room Julian was playing with his toys instead of putting clothes away.

 

Dad: Julian, I asked you to put your clothes away!

Julian (getting defensive): I was!

Dad: No you’re not. You’re playing!

Julian: I don’t want to put my clothes away.

Dad: Well that’s too bad, isn’t it? We all have to do things in life we don’t want to do.

Julian: That’s stupid.

Dad: Oh yeah? Well what if I don’t want to make you dinner tonight?

Julian: Then we’ll  just order out.

Dad: Julian! That’s not the point and you know it!

Julian: I don’t care if my clothes are put away.

Dad: Well I do. If they’re not put away in 5 minutes, there are no electronics for you today.

Julian starts yelling at his dad without making any move to put his clothes away.

 

How It Could Go Instead When

Kids Won’t Do Boring Tasks

 

Scenario: Julian’s dad has asked Julian to put his folded clothes away in his drawers. He left Julian for a few minutes to go do something, and when he came back into his room Julian was playing with his toys instead of putting clothes away.

 

Dad: Julian, I asked you to put your clothes away!

Julian (getting defensive): I was!

Dad: OK. Looks like you’re doing something else now.

 

CALM

Julian’s dad is extremely upset that Julian is lying about putting his clothes away. 

However, he knows that if he points this lie out now, a power struggle will ensue. Instead, he pauses and remains calm so that Julian doesn’t become even more defensive.  

 

Julian: No I’m not.

Dad: OK, kiddo. (Pauses.) You don’t like putting the laundry away, do you?

Julian: No.

Dad: It’s not fun, is it? Playing with the other things in your room is much more fun.

Julian: Yeah. Putting away clothes is dumb.

Dad (laughs). Yeah I guess it could be. And… it has to be done.

Julian: I don’t want to!

Dad: Yeah. I get that. It stinks that we have to do things that we don’t want to do, doesn’t it?

 

CONNECT

Instead of insisting that Julian has to suck it up (which implies that his feelings don’t matter), Julian’s dad acknowledges Julian’s perspective.

He knows that in order for Julian to act responsibly, he has to feel respected. 

 

Julian: Yeah.

Dad: Well bud, it’s gotta get done. And we can’t do anything else till it’s done. So let’s see if we can make it a little less boring. What do you think?

 

CORRECT

While Julian’s dad respects how Julian is feeling, he still insists that Julian must act responsibly. Then he teaches Julian tools he can use to do the thing he needs to do. 

He focuses on being firm while teaching Julian tools to be successful

 

Julian: How?

Dad: Well, do you think you could put ALL of your pants away while sticking your tongue out?

Julian: Yeah, that’s easy.

Dad: OK, so show me.

Julian puts his pants away.

Dad: OK, how do you want to put the shirts away?

Julian: I can do that with one hand behind my back…

Dad: No way! I’ve gotta see that!

Julian quickly gets all of his clothes away by doing a different challenge for each type of clothing. 

 

What Will Make This Work

 

Though Julian’s dad used the Calm, Connect, Correct strategy, proactive deposits will make all of the difference in how this situation plays out in the moment.

If you want to give your child tools to be successful (so they do the thing they don’t feel like doing), remember: 

 

Depositing into CALM

You will not be able to stay calm if

a.) your own biological or emotional “needs accounts” are low (you won’t have a reserve to draw from and you’ll immediately go into Yuck)

b.) you have the expectation that your children will have the same priorities that you do

When you make sure your own needs are met and you set realistic expectations PROACTIVELY, you are more likely to be able to stay calm. 

 

Depositing into CONNECT

You will be able to connect if

a.) you respect that ALL behavior has a reason and

b.) you understand those reasons (in a case like this, that when a is struggling with a boring task, making the task engaging will reduce so much resistance!)

When you become comfortable with the reasons behind behavior PROACTIVELY, you will be able to connect more effectively. 

 

Depositing into CORRECT

You will be able to correct behavior by offering a tool if

a.) You have demonstrated consistently in the past that you mean what you say when you set a boundary like “You still have to put away your clothes.”

b.) You have made enough deposits into your kids’ emotional needs that setting a boundary doesn’t put them immediately into Yuck.

When you demonstrate that you mean what you say and when you make deposits into your kids’ emotional needs PROACTIVELY, you  will be able to correct behavior more effectively.