We stood in line for the Happy Swing at the County Fair. The girl in front of us didn't want to go on the ride. "Knock it off," said the mom to her daughter, "this isn't a scary ride. You are getting on this ride or we are going home." After a long back and forth, the daughter got on the ride.
I'm not here to judge this beautiful Mama. I get it. I know that frustration too. However, when we pressure our children into doing what we want them to do, evidence shows that it is those children who later in life cave to peer pressure around things like sex and drug use.
So, what can you do when your child won't listen?
In this case, you can empathize with your child. You can mirror back to her the fear she is having and share a story about how you have walked through fear before too. And then, really ask yourself if it matters in the long run whether or not your daughter rides the Happy Swing. Maybe this is a time that she can just wait until she is comfortable and wants to go?
In general, when your child won't listen you can ...
- be kind, yet firm (I love you, and it is time to go now).
- ask motivational questions (what do you need to do so we can get to school on time?).
- create routines and agreements ahead of time (when we go to the restaurant for dinner, what are the agreements for how we will eat and wait?).