On top of coaching highly functioning adults, I also spend a significant time with my own kids as well as coaching their teams whenever I can. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching soccer for 4, 5, and 6 year olds, you may know that it is by far one of the most challenging things on Earth to effectively engage a group of young people.
If you’re a parent of young children, you may want to master the art of getting kids to comply with your requests.
Here are some things to consider if you want to step up your parenting game and have a more peaceful home with less conflict and more harmony.
Firstly, it is important to understand there are essentially 3 ways to get your kid to do whatever it is you want them to do - play the disciplinarian, the motivator, or play pretend. Of these three, by far the most effective the overwhelming majority of the time is, maybe somewhat surprisingly, to play pretend.
Let’s go over all 3 so you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The 3 Parenting Strategies
Just yesterday I needed to make a trip to the store and I wanted my oldest son to come with me. He wanted to stay home and do something else. I could have gone the disciplinarian route and said “son if you don’t come with me, you’re going to lose your desert at dinner.” I could have gone the motivator route and said “son, if you come with me to the store, I may buy you some candy.” Or in the pretend world I can change my state to playful, change the tone and cadence of my voice to reflect urgency and say “ninja, I need to go on a secret mission down the street to find the magic item in the store. Without it, the aliens will take over the world! Help me ninja!” It’s a totally nonsensical story, but I know my son loves both ninja and alien based stories, so adjust accordingly.
If you’re constantly having your requests resisted or denied, I encourage you to start speaking the language of little kids rather than trying to make them speak the language of adults.
It all starts with your state
No matter the strategy you pick, the key to being effective starts with the proper control of your state. What state you’re in controls the quality of your life minute to minute and this is especially important when trying to lead - even kids. If you are playful, happy, strong, or commanding you are much more likely to influence others than if you are frustrated, hurried, nervous or angry.
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