Monday, November 16, 2009

Orders disguised as questions

Parents sometimes use questions when what they are saying is really a statement, not a question. For example, when it was time to get ready for bed one mom asked her daughter, Anna, “Do you think it’s time to get ready for bed?” Believing she had a choice, Anna responded “No, it’s not time.”

When mom told her that in fact it was time to get ready for bed, Anna threw herself on the floor sobbing and complaining. This wasn’t exactly the result mom wanted! Mom may have gotten a better response had she either just stated it was time to get ready for bed or given Anna a choice like “Do you want to start getting ready for bed now or in two minutes?”

When we ask our children a question that indicates they have a choice when they really do not have a choice, we may unintentionally trigger an argument.

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