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Hilde Gross Blog

Getting Kids to Cooperate 

“You’re scaring me, Mommy!” These were the words out of my precious 3-year-old daughter’s mouth as I loomed over her, after raising my voice (nice way of saying yelled) in an effort to get her “to cooperate with me!” Apparently I didn’t get Webster’s definition of cooperate which is to work together; to be helpful; to produce the right conditions for something to happen. I certainly was not being “helpful” nor was I “producing the right conditions” yet I was accusing my 3 -year-old of not cooperating!

What was more horrifying, was my sudden awareness of how often I was using the tactic of intimidation to achieve “cooperation.” Talk about an oxymoron!  Since that time, I became aware that if I come from a place of intimidation, I tend to be judgmental and agitated towards my children, which can be scary for both of us!

Instead, if I come from a place of cooperation (the true definition), a win win solution becomes easier! I came to understand that if I bring gentle awareness to my intimidation without judging it, the more I began to see other options to win cooperation. The key here is NON-JUDGMENTAL. If you begin to judge yourself, you will lose the incentive to find new ways to win cooperation.

Parenting Practice: This week I will catch myself using intimidation to motivate my children. I will bring nonjudgmental awareness to it and watch what  good it brings.