13 Mar

One very easy way to get more cooperation: get “Eye to Eye”

Several of my parenting clients have had so much success with this very simple tip, that I’ve decided to share it with you, too.

It’s so simple and intuitive; yet parents often forget to use it.

It’s called, “Eye to Eye” from Positive Discipline and it works like this:

Rather than bark commands from across the house like this:

“Hurry up, it’s time to go!”
“Get your shoes on, NOW!”
“If you don’t come to dinner now, you won’t get any!”

Try getting “Eye to Eye” instead:

  1. Move to where your child is.
  2. Get at their level.  This doesn’t mean a stare-down.  Some children are uncomfortable with too much direct eye contact.
  3. Get their attention with words or maybe gentle touch. For example, “Hey, Love,”
  4. Make your request or demand in a calm, clear, kind voice. E.g., “Dinner time.”
  5. Give them a second or two to disengage from whatever it was they were doing, and transition to what’s next.  E.g., Hold out your hand and wait a few seconds.

Why is it effective?  Moving to where your child is, getting at their level, and making your request or demand in a calm, clear way models respect.

“It’s very hard to be disrespectful to someone who’s being respectful to you.”  
– Lois Ingber, Positive Discipline Lead Trainer

It’s not impossible, of course, but it is hard.  The more consistently someone treats you with respect, the worse it feels to deny them the same.

Will it always be effective?  Nope.  Because no parenting tool works every time, with every child, in every situation.  Children (and humans) are way too complicated for that.  That’s why you need many tools in your toolbox — tools that are implemented with kindness and firmness and the kind of respect that you hope to see in return.

Here’s a challenge for you:

For the next 48 hours, practice “Eye to Eye” with every single interaction you have with your child (and maybe even your partner, too!).  Just to exercise the muscle.  And to see what you learn.

It’s the same challenge I’ve given many of my clients who reported major success as a result.

If you take my challenge, please let me know how it goes in the comment section below!