Parenting Tips and Tools Part 3: What do I do When My Child Doesn’t do What They Said They Were Going to Do?
You decided that you are going to try to find that balancing act in parenting and tested out some of the solutions from our first blog:
Solution #1: Validating feelings worked for complaining.
Solution #2: Showing understanding and using logical consequences worked for homework and chores.
Solution #3: Redirecting brought laughter and some fun into your nighttime routines.
Solution #4: Limited choices helped you avoid some power struggles.
But collaborative problem solving – though it sounded like a great thing – didn’t work. They just didn’t do what you all agreed upon. What do you do next?
What do you do when you and your child have agreed on something, but then they don’t do it? In the second article in our series, we described how to do collaborative problem solving, but what happens when you’ve expertly problem solved with your child, and they don’t follow through? You may be tempted to throw in the towel or revert to old patterns. Wait!
When you first start collaborative problem solving, many children will not follow through on the solution. Many children forget or may need some time adjusting to the new way of creating solutions together. Don’t give up, and don’t fret. With consistency and these helpful hints, children can learn how to collaboratively problem solve with you, and hold up their end of the bargain.
Helpful hints if your child doesn\’t follow through:
- State very simply and concisely that you noticed that they did not do what they said they were going to do (“I noticed you didn\’t pick up your clothes from the floor”) and ask them to go do it (“please do it now”).
- Ignore complaints
- Respectfully, simply, and firmly ask them “what was our agreement?”
- Use non-verbal respectful communication (Nelsen, 2013).
- Discuss the problem again in a second problem-solving session, this time starting out with the solution perhaps not being the best solution to the problem.
“Seems like our solution didn’t work out. Sounds like we need to revisit that and come up with a new solution.”
In short, there are always more things to try and more ideas on what to do when parenting.
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Catherine Gruener, LCPC, NCC, DCC, PDTC. Catherine is a multi-certified and licensed clinical professional counselor, nationally and internationally known for her parent training programs. She is the owner of Gruener Consulting and the Chief Executive Officer of the Encouragement Parenting Division.