Tamra and Cass relate a humorous story of this strategy being applied. From teaching middle school to raising a very driven youngest daughter (Heather), it can work great! Just not so much for Cass.
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Psychology studies tell us that people, especially teens, do not respond to punishment – at least not in the way we intend them to. Instead, a more effective approach is to package things in the positive. This is true whether you are looking at punishment or simply denying a request (which can often feel like punishment).
- A negative approach would be: You can’t have X because you haven’t done A, B, and C.
- A positive approach would be: You can have X when you do A, B, and C.
- An even more positive approach would be: You can have X when you do A, B, and C, because you have already done Y and Z (acknowledging and reinforcing current accomplishments or positives).
This creates a clear sense of cause-and-effect that mirrors real life while empowering your child to be able to be successful in life.
But what if you really need to say no?
Your child could be asking to do something that you would never allow as a parent of minor. For this, you can state that your child can have “X” when reaching a point in life where he or she is independent and able to own the potential consequences. But meanwhile, you can explore what needs to be done to get to that point, so feel free to get started. For example, a teen wanting a tattoo can research about the safety precautions of professional tattoo artists, review portfolios of artists’ work, and review stories of people who have tattoos — both happy stories and stories of regret, to avoid making a mistake.
The above content is excerpted from courses and resources available to you from Open Path Education.