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Parenting Conflicts About ...

I have a question regarding whether a child ( any age beyond 6 years )should be TOLD ( ordered )what to do immediatly ( with raised voice tone)...or should the child be ASKED first and then if refusing, ignoring or being oppositional then TELL ( demand )? Obviously, safety is a big factor, but I am talking about in general.

For example:

*, Will you turn off the T.V. please?
*, Please, don't touch that!
*, I would like you to stop doing that, please.


*, shut the T.V. off NOW!!! ( loud voicetone )
*, You had better keep your hands off/out of there!
*, Give me that!!!

There are two conflicting reasons for each within our parenting opinions.

One being:

If they don't follow directions now when they are TOLD to do something, how are they going to be able to take direction from other adults when they are adults themselves, e.g. Manager, Boss etc

and the other opinion is:

Unless children are ASKED to do something before being told, where are they having the opportunity to make the concious choice to do the right thing. This also gives them the valuable life lesson of respect when requesting something of someone.

also, should an explaination be given as to why you are asking this of someone?


I would like you to turn the T.V. off, because...( I it is a lovely day to go play outside etc )

Obviously, this is a big conflict in our house! With both parents beleiving strongly in our opinions. Please note I have not mentioned whos' opinion is whos'.

Appreciate any advice!


Re: Parenting Conflicts About ...

I always try to ask nicely and explain why. I like to treat my children as I like to be treated myself. I don't take kindly to people ranting and raving at me and if someone tried to smack me, well lets just say they wouldn't try again!!!

I am human and get frustrated and do shout sometimes but it is not my first option.

This is a great book which might help if you are interested - Discipline without shouting or spanking" by Jerry Wychoff, Ph.D. and Barbara C. Unell

Re: Parenting Conflicts About ...

definately ALWAYS ask pleasantly as your first option! think how you would feel if at work for example, your boss said a) "would you please make sure the filing is done by noon, thank you"
or b) DO THAT FILING BEFORE NOON OR I WILL BE SO ANGRY!!! you would feel like your boss didnt trust you to do the right thing in the first place which would also make you wonder if he even respected you. it is the same with kids, they need to feel valued, respected and trusted and if there is a constant threat of being yelled at over nothing, this wil not help your relationship with them especially when they become teenagers and are equal to you, not beneath you.

its a simple example but no matter the age, everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. asking them nicely gives them the opportunity to do the right thing on their own and makes them feel respected and valued by you, not just some annoyance that you are constantly yelling at. also, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS give a reason for your order- if children understand why they are to do a certain thing and why it is important, they are much more likely to comply. good luck

Re: Re: Parenting Conflicts About ...

Well I want to thank all that responded to my dilema. I will let you know that I am the parent that believes that ASK is the right way !

Thankyou! You have affirmed to me that I was making the better decision!

Re: Parenting Conflicts About ...

Please have faith, and watch the video called 123 Magic! It sounds corney but it is a great "cooperation method". Tape one is about "start behavior" Tape two is for "stop behavior"

Re: Re: Parenting Conflicts About ...

Hi, My child does not react to kind questions and honestly I have tried. I really do not know what to do about it, I am getting so desperate I sometimes end up crying. Its nice to say "Please darling, could you sit down and finish your food" or "Please do not open the door until I am dressed, because ...bla bla bla", but after saying it again and again as kindly as possible and still no eating or the door being opened regardless of my explanation, I cannot handle it any longer and the inevitable shout or spank comes out. I hate reacting this way myself, and I end up in a mess, guilty and upset.
What can I do? Should I just leave her without food until she's hungry, or until her next meal, or should I get her something else? should I allow her to open the door? No matter how hard I try it seems to get worse and worse. And she's now starting to answer back ...

Re: Re: Re: Parenting Conflicts About ...

Get hold of the book I recommended Discipline without Shouting or Spanking it is really good. It gives you some strategies to use. Going mental is just going to give you hypertension and an early grave.

Take care we all get frustrated you are not alone kids are constantly testing the limits.