What’s the one-word question that undermines parenting faster than anything else?
Ugh! Why do we do that? Why do we give our children an instruction and then make obedience an option?
“You need to clean your room. Okay?”
“Please take out the garbage. Okay?”
“Be nice to your sister. Okay?”
What if our kids said, “No, it’s not okay. But thanks for the suggestion.”
What then? If we give them the option, we have to respect their choice of “no.”
Why make a suggestion when we really intend to give an instruction? It reveals insecurity and poor leadership. It’s our way of softening what we perceive to be something unpleasant. We don’t want to create a conflict, make them unhappy, or have them not like us … all of which are harmful qualities in a parent.
If we approach our kids with confidence and optimism, we can stop a lot of their resistance before it starts.
“Hey dude, it’s time to clean your room. Having your things neat and tidy makes it more fun to play in here.”
“It’s Friday, so please empty all the garbage cans. I appreciate all the work you do to make our home nice.”
“You need to speak kindly to your brother. Respecting each other is one of our family priorities.”
You get the idea. If you aren’t really asking them if they want to, then don’t make it a question. Simply state what you expect. Don’t make it sound like a negotiation or like you feel bad asking them to do it. You don’t need to apologize for teaching your kids responsibility or for training their characters. That’s your God-given job! Own it with confidence.