How do I Get My Child to Comply?

Is it sometimes difficult getting your child to do what you want him or her to do? Do you often get exasperated over compliance? Did you wish you had some magic wand to get your child to follow you? Here is a piece of insight.

How do I get my child to comply? Well, the answer lies in this paradox: “If you want to lead the children, become a follower first!

Our son, Ian, was just five years old. It was his bedtime, and toys were all over the living room. “Ian,” I said, “you need to pick up all those toys before you go to bed.” “Daddy,” he said, “I’m too tired to pick up my toys.” My immediate inclination was to force him to clean up the room. Instead, I went into the bedroom, laid down, and said, “Ian, come here. Let’s play Humpty Dumpty.” He climbed up on my knees and I sang, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall and had a great fall.” And he fell. Ian laughed and said, “Let’s do it again.” After the third “fall,” I said, “Okay, but first go pick up those toys.” Without thinking he ran into the living room and in two minutes finished what could have taken half an hour. Then back on my knees he repeated, “Daddy, let’s do it again.” “Ian, I thought you were too tired to pick up those toys.” He answered, “I was, daddy, but I just wanted to do this!”

One can finish any job when One has the “Want to!” Thank you Mr. Slatter for sharing this lovely learning. With most children it’s a matter of timing. It’s not that they don’t want to do it, but they don’t want to do it at that specific time. Impulsive as most children are, once the initial urge is over, once the satisfaction is in, we can then get them to do anything (else).

The critical issue here is that we respect and accept their “current (in above example it is – excited) state of mind”. Anything against this “desire of being in current state” is going to meet with resistance. The big idea is to quickly diffuse this mental state and bring down the excitement levels. Give them a taste of it. Preferably, share it with them.

Lets say the child has to get ready to go out, but is delaying in moving away from the TV. “Just one more minute Mumma”, is the repeated request. Try this: “Ok dear, only one more minute. But I will watch with you”. Now, become her: Watch the show with the same fascination. Lap up each frame. Say “wow” with her; giggle with her; frown with her. Enjoy the next minute exactly as she is doing. Do it sincerely. This is Pacing. Its like first ‘matching pace’ with them. Once we are in sync with children, its much easier for us to lead them to a different direction. Once we have paced with the child, she is far more open, far more ready, to do what we want her to do. In the example quoted above Mr. Slatter used the PACING so effectively.

One can pace with child through understanding, empathy and (at times) intuition. Invest in these tools and learn pacing, it will yield high returns.

Ending this article with a small note from great educationist ‘Peter Kline’ (from his book “The Everyday Genius”).

“The key to education is adapting teaching to the way we naturally learn. Derived from Latin ‘educere’, education means, “to lead out from”. The task, then, is not to impose learning on the young, but to lead out from their infinitely resourceful minds those things that will best serve the emerging creative personality.

Peter Kline

And what are these keys? Sensitive listening and interpretation will discover them. Attend to your little one’s babblings, behavior and wonderment as you would watch a spider weaving a web or an artist at the easel. Observe the emerging design. Try to make out the image this newly forming mind is offering to show you. Expect nothing – but await expectantly!”