I used to get frustrated over this. I wanted my kids to go with the flow and do what the "family plan" was…basically all the time. But here’s what I’ve learned as my kids grow... sharing power brings more cooperation!
My kids' ages span from 16-7. They don’t often want to do the same things. Of course they have different interests. They also have different tolerance levels for noise, crowds and group activities.
Now, when there’s an activity coming up, I try to label it. “Hey, we have plans to go sledding tomorrow, everyone’s invited, but it’s optional.”
“We’re going to walk through the Christmas lights on Friday. I’d love for everyone to come. It’s optional, you can let me know when it’s closer.”
Then, there are the activities that I really need everyone to participate in. “Hey guys, Saturday is the family Christmas party and the next day we are all going to the zoo.” (This one isn’t really optional, but I don’t necessarily need to say that unless a child asks.)
This doesn’t guarantee that everyone is going to be excited about the plans, or that I won’t get some push-back. But when we can help the unhappy child see that there are plenty of “optional” activities, as well as the “required” ones, we get more cooperation.
Are you kids little? They love choices and power as much as teenagers. It may look a little different, but share power when you can, and you will see more cooperation!
Do you have questions on how to put this into practice in your family? Or maybe you’re dealing with a lot of challenging things in your home right now. Reach out and connect with me. A free 20 minute parent coaching consultation might be your next step. There is hope for every family struggling.