Expert Parenting Advice
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The secret to getting easier cooperation from your kids

Why involving your kids in decision-making can lead to better cooperation.

I took my kids for a hike earlier this week.

At one point, the track became very muddy. It looked a bit slippery, and I felt a bit hesitant to walk over the mud.

"Don't worry mom, I'll hold your hand so you won't fall," I heard my daughter say.

It took me by surprise.

My little four-year-old daughter had seen the worry in my face, had used empathy to think about why I was worried, and then she came up with a solution. All on her own.

We parents often underestimate our kids. They grow and develop so fast, it is difficult to keep up. And by the time we catch up with where they are, they've already grown and developed some more.

This is also true when we want to get our kids to cooperate. We often forget that they can come up with solutions, and that it is not just up to us to tell them what to do.

This is one strategy that Naama Cameron, an ex-nursery school teacher and experienced parenting coach, shared with me when I recently asked her for her best advice to get kids to cooperate:

Have meetings with your kids. Two-and-a-half-years-old. Yes. I tell every client that I meet, "When we get off the phone, I want you to sit with your child or your children, and I want you to go over the rules. I want you to sit and say, we're having a family meeting, and this is our new plan. These are the new rules."

Even if they're two, two and a half, let them process it. Kids are smarter than we really give them credit for. They're aware of everything. So, if you give them three or four rules and then you follow through, it makes sense to them. I always say present it to them, never have surprises.

The secret to getting easier cooperation from your kids is that the more you involve your kids in your decision making process, the easier it becomes to enforce your decisions.

Because if they feel that they were part of the decision, they are much more likely to cooperate.

According to Naama, that's why it is so important to clearly establish the few rules that you are not willing to be flexible about. Because once you are clear about what is non-negotiable, it becomes much easier to be flexible and get your kids involved in all the other decisions.

If you want advice on how to set clear boundaries that can actually allow you to be more flexible, and empower your kids more, then you'll find this interview very useful. You can find my full interview with Naama Cameron in our ebook How To Get Kids To Listen, available for free download here.