Last week at the Calgary airport I got asked to show ID by a Kelsey’s waitress. I don’t for a moment believe she thought I looked underage. I am not deluded, it was just protocol. It’s a smart system we don’t use much in Ontario, but it’s effective and parallels advice I give parents.
Research shows there is less aggression and violence when you ID every person every time. With this system, the waitress shows the patrons that she is not using judgment. It’s nothing personal – it’s just the rules. Objective not subjective. Rules are the higher authority, not personal power.
Think of how many power struggles you could avert by practicing this idea with your children? When your child asks you for a cookie and you say, “No–not now–because I said so,” you are being very subjective and random. When you get fed up and say, “Clean up this mess,” you are expressing your personal desire for tidiness.
You will likely get better cooperation and less fighting if you create routines and enforce them consistently:
“Yes, you may have a cookie–at snack time. That is when we have cookies.”
“Look! The clock says its 4 p.m.. That’s clean-up time!”
Being consistent and enforcing clearly understood rules of the house without expressing your personal power will reduce fights and aggression with your children.