“Children, like most grownups, object to orders and commands,” says How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk co-author Adele Faber. Knowing this, Faber advises parents to end relentless power struggles with an empathetic approach:

“One little girl told her mother, ‘Mommy, I’m so tired of all your instwuctions and diwections!’ The solution? When possible, consider acknowledging the child’s feelings and offering a choice: ‘Oh, so you don’t like being told what to do, do you? Well, let me say it another way: no ball playing in the living room, but let’s think about where you can play. Hmm… Outdoors in the front of the house?… Or maybe in the backyard? Whichever you prefer. You decide.”

Here’s how 4 other parenting experts say to respond…


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Richard Weissbourd
The Parents We Mean to Be author and Harvard psychologist Richard Weissbourd advises parents to use this comment as a moment to step back and reconsider what’s gone amiss.
Format: Video (0:59)

YouTube video

Christine Carter
The Raising Happiness author and parenting expert says the more you let your kids be the boss, the less you’re likely to hear this complaint. Format: Video (1:01)

Betsy Brown Braun
“In 10 years, when you can drive your own car and pay your bills, then you don’t have to listen to a word I say,” says child expert Betsy Brown Braun. But for now… Format: Article

Gabor Mate
A statement like this, says the best-selling co-author of Hold On to Your Kids , suggests there’s a disconnect between parent and child that needs mending. Format: Article