Any links to Amazon are affiliate links.
My children are, generally speaking, quite well-behaved. Yes, they have their moments. Yes, they test their limits. But overall, they are very obedient. We go days between need for any sort of punishment at all. I have been paying attention to our days to see what things I do that seem to help. One tactic I use is the phrase, “I didn’t ask if you wanted to…”
I have to try to explain a bit about my personality. I am very calm. My sense of humor is very dry; when I am making a joke, you really have to know me to be sure if I am serious or joking. I have excellent control over my emotions. I am extremely matter-of-fact. I am logical.
When I discipline my children, I strive to be calm about it. I do not raise my voice or get emotional. My Mom has marveled at my patience–I suppose I wasn’t as patient as the child as I am as the parent :). I do not try to put any guilt upon my children. I don’t hold grudges. I just say it like it is, correct as necessary, and we move on.
For some reason, Brayden (approaching 4) really dislikes going potty. The child can hold it in forever. I can count on one hand the number of times he has had to go potty at a time other than when I told him to. I can actually only think of two times. It seems he views the bathroom as a major inconvenience in his life. This isn’t a problem accident-wise. You just have to go, you know? “I didn’t ask if you wanted to…” started with the potty.
“Brayden, you need to go potty.”
“I don’t want to go potty!”
“I didn’t ask if you wanted to; I just said to go.”
End of conversation. He would go. Whenever I instruct him to do something and he feels the need to tell me he doesn’t want to, I remind him that I didn’t ask if he wanted to, just told him that he needed to. When I say this, my emotions are even. I am not frustrated or exacerbated. I am not angry. I am not condescending. I am really quite nonchalant. I am just letting him know the reality of the matter. It is just information to remind him who decides. Mom decides 🙂
A similar phrase I might use interchangeably is “I know you don’t want to, but you need to.” I use this with the same tone, same situations, and same demeanor.