How to Talk to Your Child about Exclusionary Behavior (Tips 9, 10, 11)

April 24th, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized

This blog offers three more tips in my ongoing series titled How to Talk to Your Child about Exclusionary Behavior.

Tip 9: Take punishment off the table. Let your child know you won’t be mad at what they will tell you.

Why? Children learn to avoid punishment at by the time they are toddlers. As long as they have fear of punishment, there may not be much to persuade them. Fear of punishment heightens the sense that you are an authority figure and, therefore, an outgroup member. Minimize this threat and you can attempt to gain back ingroup status as family member rather than authority figure.

Tip 10: Be persuasive, unemotional, age appropriate, and logical building your argument slowly and gaining buy in at each smaller claim.

“You’ve done a lot of things and learned a lot and you are only five, right?”
“Mommy/daddy is older than you, right?”
“So mommy/daddy probably have also done a lot and learned a lot too, right?”
“Mommy/daddy have probably done and learned more things than you in all those extra years too, right?”
“So mommy/daddy know things you don’t know, right?”
“So mommy/daddy may knows things that can be dangerous that you don’t know about, right?”
“So it’s important for you to tell mommy/daddy secrets because it might involve something dangerous that you might not realize is dangerous, right?”

Why? Children are smarter than we give them credit for. Children are also often contrary for the fun of it! If we engage in a discussion about complicated topics with them, we can guide them to reach their own conclusions so that we are not simply telling them what to do, which children are often resistant to because it treats the child as a subordinate and an outgroup member.

Tip 11: With your child, brainstorm ways to respond to the situation. Explore the full range from easy to more difficult to do. Consider nonverbal options as well as verbal ones.

Why? Individually you or your child will come up with fewer options than you will by working together. Empower your child to come up with their own ideas as well. Let your child choose which they are more comfortable with to use to manage the situation. Don’t push your agenda but do hold your child accountable to explain why they are choosing one option over another. Provide feedback on her/his ideas in a non-judgmental way. Modeling this brainstorming process will help her see that as an ingroup member you share her problems. Moreover, it promotes problem-solving as a ingroup value and gives your child a sense that ‘we are in this together.’

Be Sociable, Share!
No comments yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.