“Bad or worse” parent hack / trick

I’m really enjoying the Parent Hacks blog. Here’s a trick I use on Lauren all the time:

When you want your child to do something that she doesn’t like to do, always give her two choices: the desired activity and something worse. If she rejects both choices, you insist that the worst choice will then be chosen by default, but you offer the choices again. After one or two attempts at evasion, she will choose the desired activity, plus she will feel empowered that she avoided the worse choice.

Example: Bedtime

We always read a couple books before bedtime, so I use that as a reward:

Me: Lauren it’s time for bed.
Lauren: No, not yet!
Me: Do you want to read some books, or go straight to sleep?
Lauren: No, not yet!!!
Me: Okay, we’ll go straight to sleep (start moving)… or do you want to read some books first?
Lauren: Read books!

This technique works amazingly well with Lauren, but she’s not the most strong-willed child so your mileage may vary.

Note: the “worse” choice should be something you’re willing to follow through; if you end up having to do the “worse” choice, the next time you offer the choices you’ll probably get a quicker response!

2 Responses to ““Bad or worse” parent hack / trick”

  1. We’ve used this extensively with our girls and works quite well but you have to be prepared to follow through if necessary. If they figure you’re bluffing they will call you on it.

  2. Matt says:

    Great tip for parents – works wonders. Would love to see you contribute this to Minti (www.minti.com) if you like – with plenty of linking back to your excellent blog of course :)

    Keep it up Patrick !

    Matt from Minti

Leave a Reply