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By John W. Maag, Ph.D.
This approach works well when you're trying to tell a child something and she refuses to look at you. Instead of getting upset, you can instruct the child to place her hands over her ears to ensure she doesn't hear one word you say. If she follows your direction, she's being compliant. When you get compliance in one area it's easier to get compliance in another area. At the very least, the behavior is now under your control. If she refuses to place her hands over her ears, you may comment that perhaps she wants to hear some of what you are saying — and then you can refuse to finish.
Changing Your Approach to Regain Control
Parents can manage children's resistance in a positive, effective fashion. But you may have to step outside your comfort zone and get creative in your responses to your child's misbehavior. Here's a final example: A mother and her daughter are at a mall when the daughter pitches a huge fit - a floor-mopping tantrum with arms and legs waving madly. The mother immediately drops to the floor and starts throwing a tantrum alongside her daughter. The daughter instantly stops her tantrum, stands up, and says "Mom, stop that, you're embarrassing me!" Whether or not you have this mom's dramatic talents, the general lesson applies: Don't get stuck in frustrating patterns of reacting to your child's resistance. Often you have more power than you think to change your child's negative behavior.
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