I Feel Like a Broken Record with My Child

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Ask Dr. Vicki, Discipline

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Dear Dr. Vicki,

I have to ask my child 3 or 4 times to do something, at which point, I am angry. For example, my son was playing with his friend’s cell phone in the back of our car. I asked him 3 times to give it back to his friend (knowing the battery was low). By the time he gave it back, the phone was no longer usable as a phone. This is just one example. I feel like a broken record.

Dr. Vicki’s advice:

My advice is to not sound like a broken record and take action before the third or fourth time. The more warnings or requests you make, the angrier you are going to become. Take action sooner in a calm fashion, and your children will take you seriously sooner without your having to yell.

In this instance, I would recommend that after the first request without compliance, that you give him a choice. Either give the phone back, or ____ will be your consequence. If he still doesn’t comply, I would suggest that you stop the car, if need be, and take the phone away.

Then be sure to follow through with whatever consequence you had presented. Also, if he doesn’t comply and he earns the consequence, I like to say something like, “I see you have chosen to __________” (whatever the consequence is.) That will convey that this action brought about the end result.

If you find your anger rising, that is an indication to take action before your anger takes over and you either yell, or handle the situation from an emotional, rather than a rational, calm, take-charge manner.
© MMVI Vicki Panaccione, Ph.D.

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