Zionsville Times Sentinel

November 14, 2012

Build cooperation through getting close

By Tess Worrell/Times Sentinel columnist
Zionsville Times Sentinel

Zionsville — When I talk with parents, one frustration tops the list — getting children to cooperate. Why is it so hard to get children to simply do what a parent asks?

Many parents throw up their hands in defeat assuming “that’s just the way kids are.” The truth — children have tremendous capacity to cooperate and participate well in family life. That cooperation can come even as parents make a few relatively easy changes in their own patterns. A first step — get close when giving instructions.

All too often, I give instructions from a distance. I’m walking through our living room and notice the school books scattered across the living room floor. I call up the stairs where the children are playing, “Please come put your books away,” as I head to the kitchen to make dinner. Somehow I’m surprised when I get back to the living room 20 minutes later, and the books are still in the floor. Giving instructions from a distance, calling to the basement or across the back yard, is a lousy starting point for cooperation. Getting close makes a huge difference.

See Wednesday's paper for the full story.