9 Techniques for Handling Children’s Protests

One difficult part of parenting is how to handle the situation when our children object to our rules or requests and actively resist changing their behavior.  They may attempt to side-track, confuse, intimidate or prevent parents from their roles as leaders in their homes.  The techniques listed below will help keep parents in charge.

Specific techniques for handling protests.

Father disciplining teen daughter
When your child balks at your request, simply repeat the request firmly and calmly. Sometimes it helps to give a reason if there is a time limit.

Examples are provided to show how the technique may be applied.

1. Repeat your request calmly, yet firmly.  “You need to clean up your desk now.”

2. Give brief, honest reasons why there is a limit to execute the request. The parent should inform the child, not looking for acknowledgement, agreement, appreciation or approval. You need to put everything off your desk because we are having guests.”

3. Listen to and respect the child’s or adolescent’s point of view. I understand that you want to finish what you are doing and am surprised at you about having to do this.”

4. Take time to think and get clear before you answer. “You want me to give you time to finish what you are working on. (Pause) I have decided you need to clean your room now.”

5. Avoid getting sidetracked. “We aren’t talking about how other parents do not make their kids do this. That may be, but it doesn’t change what you need to do right now.”

6. Firmly state that complying is not negotiable. “You will not do anything else until this is done.”

7. Use the broken-record technique. Repeat the request over and over until the child complies, remaining very calm and assertive. Use nonverbal communication to show you mean business. “You will do nothing else until this is done.”

8. Be clear if there are options. “If you need to go to the bathroom, you make take 10 minutes to do that before you clean up your desk.”

9. If the child or adolescent does not comply in a reasonable amount of time, take action.I will unplug your computer until your desk is clean.”

Handling protests can be extremely taxing and stressful for both parents and their children or adolescents.

However, using these techniques will help your child to understand that you will be consistent and tenacious in your discipline. You will be making it clear that you will not submit to their protests. This will help them recognize and understand your role as a parent as well as establish healthy boundaries in how to deal with these types of situations.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

Information taken from Effective Discipline, 2014, Diane Wagenhals. pp. 153-154.  Licensed materials. All rights reserved.

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