Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Control or Cooperation


Are you trying to gain control over children or with children? Trying to gain control over children is hard. It takes constant effort. You have to be very vigilant to police the action of children so you can implement your control tactics—usually punishment and rewards. You have to catch children being “good” so you can reward them and catch them being “bad” so you can mete out the punishment. It never ends—and what happens when you are not around? If you are very good at being in control over children what have they learned? Have they learned self-discipline, respect for self and others, responsibility, problem-solving skills, cooperation?

Trying to gain control over children is disrespectful and greatly decreases your chances of winning cooperation. Disrespectful methods invite distance and hostility, rebellion, revenge, sneakiness to avoid getting caught, or, worst of all, a child’s developing belief that, “I am a bad person.” On the other hand, respectful methods invite closeness, trust, and cooperation.

Winning Cooperation

Rudolf Dreikurs taught the importance of “winning children over”, instead of “winning over children.” One of my favorite terms is “connection before correction.” The best way to make a connection and win children over is to be respectful. One of the best ways to be respectful is to “get into the child’s world” and express understanding of the child’s feelings. Showing empathy is not the same as condoning. A really nice touch is sharing a time when you might have felt the same. These are the steps to create the connection to increase the chances that you can work for correction because children are likely to listen to you AFTER they feel listened to.

Correction Does Not Involve Punishment

In can be so difficult for parents and teachers to think they are not doing their job if they don’t engage in a lecture or some kind of consequence (usually a poorly disguised punishment). This will take you right back to the consequences (resistance and/or rebellion) you will experience by trying to gain control over instead of with your children. What do children learn when they are respectfully involved in finding a solution that works for everyone? Thinking skills, problem-solving skills, respect for self-and others, self-discipline, responsibility, listing skills, motivation for following the solution they have helped create. The list could go on and on. And, what better way to achieve control with, and to win cooperation. Once you have achieved a connection you have created an atmosphere where you can focus on a solution together. You have won cooperation.

2 comments:

Our Small Hours said...

Excellent post! Thank you for this reminder.

RK said...

Excellent insight!

ShareThis