Creative Parenting by-Encouraging Resistance

Jeff Dwarshuis LMSW ACSW

The direct discipline approach with kids doesn’t always work. Parents can however use UNUSUAL yet effective communication techniques to get increased control of their kids (AND ADULTS!).


 – If one of your children challenges your direction then accept their behavior if you can. Take interest in their reasons to oppose you and treat their decision to do something else as a need. Your acceptance and interest will turn their opposition into cooperation. Since you have then repositioned the relationship as more cooperative it puts you as the parent in a better position to make suggestions and to be heard. Here is an example –
‘Mom – I am going out tonight …I don’t care what you say”
“I understand that you are going out tonight and that it is important to you. Thank you for telling me. Before you leave please finish the yard and be home by…”
You can also use this method to “encourage” negative behavior that is already being done. For example –
“I see that you need to spend a lot of time with your friends saying out late. While you are out please help me by picking up some groceries and talk to me about other things I need done when you get home.”
This idea follows the basic understanding that people do not like being told what to do.

All ideas are taken from Jay Haley’s book – “Uncommon Therapy: The Psychiatric Techniques of Milton H. Erickson”.

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