Here’s a mistake good parents might be unknowingly making, according to Yahoo Parenting.
How often do you hear parents adding an “OK?” whenever they instruct their children. Something along the lines of, “Put your toys away, OK?” Or maybe, “That’s not for playing, OK?” It turns commands into questions, seemingly giving children a choice on whether they should follow or not even when parents aren’t meaning to give them that option.
“As parents, we want to feel like we’re giving kids choices, not dictating to them all the time, because that can feel mean and harsh,” parent coach Clair Lerner told Yahoo Parenting.
“And giving kids choices is great, but the fact is, it’s a world of limits and there’s a lot that kids have to learn to do and accept [in order] to be successful in life. What’s really loving is helping kids understand what the expectations are,” she added.
Psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish told Yahoo Parenting that by adding an “OK?” after a command, parents might be sending the wrong message to their children. “When a mom or dad adds ‘OK?’ at the end of an imperative, command, or directive, it dilutes the power of your message and implies that you are asking your child’s mutual consent.”
“When you say, ‘It’s time to give me back the iPad, OK?’ Kids are like, ‘No, not OK. I don’t want to give up the iPad.’ Then when you come back and say, ‘I need that iPad now,’ they’re confused,” said Lerner.
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An article on SmartParenting.com.ph advises parents to be firm with their decision and to be wary of negative reinforcement, or when you unintentionally reward your child for doing something wrong, such as letting your child play without cleaning up his mess because he wouldn’t stop crying.
The experts advise that the best way to go about giving instructions and commanding children is to simply be direct about it. The clarity will be useful and will produce results that parents intend in the first place.