Ever feel like you’re living in a flea market, what with the constant back-and-forth negotiations with your child?  Reward-driven children are inclined to negotiate until they get what they want, leaving you disgruntled and wondering if your child will ever complete a simple task without needing a bribe.

Imagine coming home from a long, hot day of running errands, to be greeted at the door by your 12-year old son, Devon, who immediately asks if you’ll take him to Dairy Queen.  As you unpack the groceries and begin washing the veggies you tiredly feign a smile and respond with a “we’ll see.” Devon ramps up his efforts, moving into a pestering whine until you’re forced to pay his request more attention.  You ask about his chores for the day…did he: Make his bed? Take a shower? Vacuum the basement where he tramped mud in the day before? No, not yet, and nope!  Can you feel the power struggle about to ensue?  Read on for three ways to tame the tension….

By this point in the conversation you may notice you’re triggered to respond with anger.  “You think I’m taking you to Dairy Queen when you haven’t even done the three small things I asked you to do?”  In turn Devon grows defensive and, as an intense brain child, more aggressive as he builds his way toward emotional and physical destruction.  What to do?

  1. One of our favorite reactive techniques is to resist feeding the negative energy.  This teaches Devon that no matter how loud he becomes you won’t give in just to escape the situation.
  2. One of our favorite proactive techniques is to identify the different roles and responsibilities in your house.  Have a light-hearted conversation with Devon about these before going to bed one night.  Tell him the ones you are responsible for and let him know that as a member of the family he needs to identify three that he will perform so you have more time to do fun stuff together.
  3. Pinpoint a fun reward in advance to build Devon’s motivation to participate around the house and be sure to follow through when he achieves his tasks.

When you outline expectations outside the moment of intensity you dramatically improve your chances for avoiding power struggles and negotiations.

We’d love to hear how this technique worked for you!  In the comments below, share which of the three ways to tame the tension you used to shift the mood in your household from mad to glad.

Want more ideas to decrease stress?  Call/email us today to schedule your private parenting consultation at 651-705-6665 / Relief@mad2glad.com

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