Today, December 6, is our daughter Abigail’s 15th birthday. I can still remember looking at her in the crib thinking, “I can’t believe she’s been with us a hundred days.” Wow, does time fly! In just over three years she’ll be heading off to college and no matter where you are in the world you might hear me crying because I’ll miss seeing her every day.
I’m no child psychologist or parenting expert by any means but I have learned enough about psychology to effectively use the principles of influence in the process of raising Abigail. I believe that’s been incredibly helpful so what I’d like to do is share a few things I’ve tried and hopefully it will stimulate some ideas for you.
Liking – It’s not our job to be Abigail’s friend but it’s no secret that if your kids like you they’ll be more apt to do what you ask. We go out of our way to make sure she knows how much she’s loved and that certainly helps us as parents. For a really good parenting idea check out my post on something we call Special Day.
Reciprocity – Most parents give kids an allowance and we’re no exception. An allowance however doesn’t engage reciprocity because it’s a reward, not a gift. To engage this principle you need to be the first to act.
One way I effectively used reciprocity this summer was to give Abigail a raise in her allowance before I asked anything of her. I didn’t say, “If you’ll cut the grass I’ll give you a raise,” because she would have declined (she hates cutting the grass!). What I did was give her a raise then about a week later asked her to cut the grass. She protested a little until I said, “Abigail, I gave you a raise in your allowance and didn’t ask you to do anything. Can’t you help me out?” She cut the grass.
Consensus – This one is always at play with teenagers but most of the time parents are fighting against it because of “peer pressure” and Jane and I are no different. Rather than go into detail on on how we’ve handle the pressure to conform I’ll refer you to the post I wrote on helping teens deal with peer pressure.
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.