- Research has demonstrated that the odds of getting into a nasty power struggle
with a kid dramatically decrease when we're no longer around them -
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Scientists call it serendipity. It's when you learn something really good "on accident."
I received some of this wonderful stuff from an incredibly defiant…and oftentimes violent…teen whom I met while working in psychiatric care. During one of my not-so-brilliant moments, I approached him and proceeded to give him "the business" about refusing to pick up his tray after lunch. I figured this was a "hill to die on."
He provided an intensive yet effective continuing professional development opportunity. He hit me…right upside the jaw.
From this wonderful experience I learned to do three things:
•    Approach slowly as if you haven't a care in the world.
•    Ask nicely, "Will you ______________, just for me? Thanks!"
•    Act cool, turn tail, and slowly walk away.
Research has demonstrated that the odds of getting into a
nasty power struggle with a kid dramatically decrease
when we're no longer around them.
The true science has to do with expectations and the fact that people will live up to…or down to…the ones we communicate. What expectation do we send when we ask someone to do something and then stare at them? The message is clear: "You're not going to do this for me."
In contrast, what expectation is sent when we make the very same request yet move away? The message is far more positive:
"This is a win-win situation. I know you'll help me out."
Caution: From stubborn kids you'll likely hear, "You can't make me" or "I'm not doing it." Don’t take the bait. Just keep moving away. I've often giggled to myself upon hearing such protests and discovering the child doing exactly what they vehemently claimed they wouldn't do.
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Dr. Charles Fay
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