Limit criticism and cooperation will increase! When you reduce criticism of your child, you will have more cooperation from your child. You will be astonished at the turn around you see in your kids from this one change of limiting disapproval, hostility and finding fault with your child.
Create an experiment for yourself and keep track of the results. It is simple and powerful, but it’s not always easy. Here’s an example: When your child is not cooperating, you don’t get angry and say, “What is wrong with you, you never follow directions!” Instead you might try saying, “How can I help you get ready so that you get to school on time?” or even allow your child to face the consequences and say “It might not be worth it for you to get to school on time, it’s your choice if you want to explain it to the teacher.” When your child says something hurtful to their sibling, you can try saying, “I know you’re angry at your brother, but it’s not OK to say mean things to him. It’s OK to be angry, but I trust you can talk it out with him.”
As a psychologist, I find that some parents have the mistaken belief that they are neglecting their kids or not teaching them right from wrong if they don’t indicate their child’s faults in a disapproving way. Maybe as parents we even think that meeting bad behavior with parental anger shows we are good parents because we won’t stand for bad behavior. But that’s not what decades of research shows. There is so much research on Expressed Emotion, which shows that when parents reduce their critical comments, hostility and even over-involvement, their kid’s behaviors change! Kids become more cooperative, willing and helpful and parents become more tolerant and patient.
Try it and send me your results.
Research Note: The research on Expressed Emotion is not to be confused with emotional expressiveness. Wikipedia offers this review in application to severe disorders, but keep in mind it is a powerful tool in everyday life.
Dr. Lara Honos-Webb is the author of The Gift of ADHD, The Gift of ADHD Activity Book, The Gift of Adult ADD, The ADHD Workbook for Teens and Listening to Depression. Learn more about her work at www.addisagift.com