HOW CAN I GET MY CHILD
Before I go into the answer to this question, picture this:
Husband to wife: "Did you take my shirts to the laundry?"
Wife: "Oh honey, I was so busy today, I totally forgot to go to the laundry."
Husband: "I depended on you to do this one thing for me. I'll tell you what. Because you failed to cooperate, you can just get on the phone and cancel our plans for dinner and a movie with the Johnsons Saturday night."
As silly or abusive as this may sound when we speak of adults, similar scenes are routine and fully accepted in adult relationships with children.
Now back to your question: "How can I get my child to cooperate?"
First. It is vitally important to know, all humans come into the world with an inborn drive to cooperate.
In 1955 Anthropologist Ashley Montagu wrote THE DIRECTION OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT,* a 315 page book substantiating this conclusion. The citations for his research fill 35 additional pages in the book.
Back to your question which now becomes, "If my child was born with a drive to cooperate, why is he refusing to cooperate with ME?"
Answer: "It is you, dear parent, who are failing to cooperate with him."
You, without knowing it, are failing to cooperate with his normal natural brain-directed behavior. Along with his drive to cooperate, your child has come equipped with a center in his brain operating to protect him from outside pressures and influences. Dr. Neufeld calls it the brain's counterwill. In this case you are the outside pressure and influence.
Question: "Are you saying I should just give up and let him have his way?"
Absolutely not. Putting this understanding to work, you avoid turning on his brain's counterwill by not issuing orders and demands and by learning to appeal to and work with his natural drive to cooperate.
Your child's willingness and desire to cooperate are strengthened in proportion to the strength of your Attachment bond with him.
The stronger the attachment, the less the Counterwill perceives you as an outside influence.
Avoiding the Communication Roadblocks, as explained in another chapter, is fundamental to maintaining your Attachment and achieving cooperation.
Except for folks like the husband depicted above, isn't this how most of us work with other adults?
To understand how to make this change and enjoy the cooperation you dream of having, I refer you to the chapters on Counterwill and When Your Child Is In Charge.
Everything in this book is devoted to a facet of your connection to your child and to building a relationship in which his cooperation will be automatic because it comes from the "heart."
* THE DIRECTION OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
Biological and Social Bases
by M. F. Ashley Montagu 1955 Harper Brothers New York, NY