St Michael's School
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Avoid doing deals with kids
By Michael Grose
Have you ever said something like this to one of your kids? “If you eat all your dinner up, I’ll let you use my iPad for five minutes.”
Most kids under the age of ten would empty their plate in an instant with that sort of carrot dangled in their face. But it’s a tricky game you play when you start to do deals with kids to win their cooperation. For a start, you need to be prepared to raise the stakes as the novelty of five minutes of iPad use will soon wear off.
This would also mean you need to be prepared to keep dealing with your kids, as they soon learn that if they hang out long enough, Mum/Dad or whoever will offer me a juicy enticement to win my favours.
You get what you negotiate
Keep doing deals with kids enough and they learn that they get what you negotiate. That’s fine in the business-world, but hard work in families.
I’ve seen mums who deal with kids because they just want peace and quickly. I’ve also seen dads deal with their kids because they simply enjoy negotiating. They see it as a game. That’s hard work for their partner who doesn’t use those methods.
Kids who do deals
Sometimes it’s kids who do the negotiating. “You want me to go to bed at 8.00pm do you? Well I’ll go to bed at 8 o’clock if I can have a TV in my room” says a born negotiator.
It takes a savvy parent to say, “Actually, no. That’s not going to happen.” Sometimes we become involved in child-initiated deals before we’re even aware it’s happening. Again kids can take advantage of busy, tired or time-poor parents.
The last resort
If doing deals with kids to get cooperation is a strategy you use then it should be a strategy of last resort (to use when your mother comes to visit; when you are dog-tired; or when you want a cosy Sunday morning in bed), not the first one you use when you want your kids to behave well.
Here are 5 alternatives to ‘doing deals’ with kids:
- Catch them doing the right thing: Make a bit of a fuss when your kids behave as you want. Tell your face that you are pleased with your kids so it lights up, and kids get to notice you are happy with their behaviour. This is based on the premise that parent recognition (“Mum/Dad is happy with me”) is a high driver for many kids.
- Reward them after the behaviour you want: Avoid saying, “If you behave well on our shopping trip I’ll buy you a matchbox car.” This is bribery, which is tied up with the art of dealing. Instead, show your appreciation with a treat after they have behaved well. The order of events makes a huge difference!
- Manage like a cat: There are times when a child or teen needs to know that “No means no” rather than “No is just a suggestion”. A message delivered with firm body language, a still head and a clear, flat voice without intonation indicates to a child or teen that you are serious and that no further communication is to be entered into. This non-verbal communication is quite cat-like, thus the cat metaphor for parent credibility.
- Let consequences be your friend: Let your actions, or lack of action, do the talking. Rather than negotiating with kids to pack their toys away, put toys that are left around into the ‘mystery bin’ for a time. You may need to hold firm to a tantrum when you use this method, but hang tough so your child sees that you really mean what you say and do.
- Focus on you, not them: Want them to go bed on time? Then start reading their bedtime story at the agreed time whether they are there or not. (This works well if your child is a reader! Not so good if your child isn’t interested in books. It’s the principle that counts). Resist calls for ‘that’s not fair!’ as not being in bed at an agreed time is not fair on you either! The simple shift from telling them what to do to telling them what you will do makes a massive difference particularly when you have a child who doesn’t like to be told what to do.
Nothing works all the time so smart parents know they need to have a number of different strategies at their disposal when they want cooperation from their kids. They also have a hierarchy of responses that places ‘making deals with kids’ their last resort, rather than their first option.
In fact, it may be best to leave doing deals out of your parenting armoury altogether and focus on using other communications methods instead.
St Joseph’s Parish Council invites you to the launch of
SON of VIETNAM
a family’s quest for freedom
KIM SON NGUYEN with PAUL CALLEJA
Sunday 1 December 2019
10.00 am after morning 9 am Mass
St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish Centre
With light refreshments
SON OF VIETNAM is a true story of the Nguyen’s family quest for freedom from the control of Communism in Vietnam.
Their story commences with the 1954 Geneva. Agreement that brought an end to the First Vietnam War. It charts the family’s movement from the communist North, their resettlement and growth in the non communist South, the upheaval of their lives 21 years later by the communist capture of Saigon and the subsequent 25 years of struggle to escape the religious, political and economic oppression that characterised this period of Vietnamese history.
Their epic quest for freedom was pitted with episodes of destitution, family dispersion, and betrayal by close family and friends together with times of imprisonment, near death experiences, piracy, sea rescues, years in refugee camps and the tragic loss of two of the family’s youngest children.
Despite these grim challenges and experiences the conclusion of their collective endeavours will inspire and amaze the reader.
Dear St Michael’s School Community
Vinnies are so grateful for all you give. You truly change lives.
Vinnies urgently need donations of good quality clothes, books, furniture and homewares.
All donations are either given directly to people in need or sold in Vinnies retail shops at nominal prices that everyone can afford; these profits in turn help us provide vital assistance to over 50,000 West Australians in need (yearly). Your donations make a positive difference; you are supporting people less fortunate as well as actively helping the environment by reducing landfill.
Perhaps, now is the time to sort through your unwanted summer clothes and donate them to Vinnies. Donated goods can be put in the Vinnies bin outside the Church premises, or dropped off at the Shop on Old Perth Road. Furniture can also be picked up and sent for recycling to families when they need to urgently move as a result of domestic violence, etc.
Thank you again because as you care, lives are changed!
24:7 Bassendean Youth Group
For all youth in Years 6-12
Every 1st, 3rd and 5th Friday of the month, from 6:30-8:30 in the Parish hall
Call Aloyse (0401 348 508) or Anthony (0481 737 771) for more information
God bless, Aloyse & Anthony – 24:7 Bassendean Youth Ministers www.247youthministry.org
Early in 2020, Mercedes College will commence interviewing Year 4 & Year 5 students who are due to start Year 7 in 2022 & 2023 respectively. If you are considering enrolling your daughter and have not yet requested a Prospectus, please contact Mrs Julie Lamb on 9323 1340 as soon as possible.
Enquiries are also welcome for places in Year 7 for 2020 and 2021. For more information please refer to the College website, www.mercedes.wa.edu.au.