There are three ways to use the new PKR:
Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!
MAKE ALL RULES SPECIFIC AND UNDERSTANDABLE
Make rules specific, developmentally appropriate, understandable, and enforceable. In other words, clear as a bell.
Children need to know EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN couched in terms they can understand. “Be nice!” is not specific enough for a young child. “We don’t take other children’s toys.” is what you want to say.
Rules that are not enforceable (“Don’t ever play with your brother again!”) are confusing to children as are threats which will never be carried out (“I’ll never let you go outside again!”).
After you introduce a rule or an expectation, ask the child to tell what was said to be sure there is no misunderstanding and nothing got lost in the transmission from parent to kid.
No warnings! A rule is a rule. If you give warnings (“The next time you do that I’ll——!” your message is that it’s OK to do break the rule at least once.
MASTER THE EFFECTIVE COMMAND.
When my children were small I didn’t know any better so I used the most ineffective command there is: I yelled “Stop that!” from across the room.
When you need OBEDIENCE RIGHT NOW, the operative phrase is, “Jody, get in your car seat!” Don’t ask a question like, “Do you want to get in the car seat so we can go to the mall?” The child’s logical answer might be, “I want to go to the mall but I’d rather sit in front with you!”
You don’t even have to say “please”. Please goes with a request. A command is not a request. A command means Mommy MEANS IT. A command means, with apologies to Dr. Seuss, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant, Mommy’s in charge one hundred percent!”
Don’t raise your voice but do speak sternly. Parents who use these techniques tell me it actually helps to lower the volume of the voice while speaking very precisely.
Always be close to the child when you give an effective command. Get to the child’s level (all those deep knee bends are good exercise!), touch the child, and make eye contact. Start the effective command with the child’s name.
If the child protests, say “This is not-negotiable, Jody!” and repeat the effective command.
If the child will not cooperate, physically put the child in the car seat. Do not be upset if the child cries or kicks. As a matter of fact, try to tune it all out.
In summary: to issue an effective command you must be CLOSE to the child, always start with the CHILD’S NAME, make a CLEAR and CONCISE statement in a stern but quietly resolute voice, and put a COMMANDING expression on your face. “Andy, you may NOT hit Jesse with the truck!” No need to say please, it’s not a request.
Use humor–and teach humor. Many situations can be defused by a good sense of humor. Learn to laugh at yourself. Capitalize on your children’s keen sense of the ridiculous. Distract children by making them laugh. Families that laugh together are happier than those that are serious all the time.
THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK!
Engage your brain before you engage your mouth. Almost every request from your child can be answered with a “Let me think about it.”
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