Creative Parenting-Amplifying a Deviation

 By 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!).


Children do not always change quickly. Instead of getting naturally frustrated you can watch for small changes in your child and build on them. People tend to behave in patterned ways and if a child is showing tendencies towards positive change the parent can take advantage of this patterned behavioral change and build on it.

For example – If you notice that your child is doing a better job listening and cooperating with you than he or she is in the classroom you might say “You are doing such a great job listening to me and cooperating with my needs…how could you do this with your teacher?” or “I am so happy about how you are being a leader with your friends. What is that about?” Then have him/her think about how he/she can apply this growth to the next tasks…like getting along with teachers. Another example…”I have noticed how you have made such mature decisions about managing your money and I am really curious to know how you are going to apply this maturity to dealing with finding a job.” 

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



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