Just say yes to your kids

October 09, 1990|By Mary Maushard

MANY PARENTS are looking for ways to make their jobs easier and their skills more effective. Joseph Procaccini offers these two tricks of the trade gleaned from his years as a parent, a professor of education and a student of families:

* Always say "yes" to children, even though it has the same effect as a no.

"May I take your car and go to Ocean City for the weekend?" asks your teen-ager. "Yes, when you are 23," says a father, following Procaccini's advice.

Children hear "no" so often, it's a relief for them to get a "yes" once in a while, he says. "It's gimmicky," Procaccini admits, but ,, the child will probably leave the discussion with a good feeling, thinking "the guy's half decent."

* Try to start sentences with "I" instead of "you" when talking to children, especially about difficult situations.

"You-ing" as in "you should," "you don't," or "you will" is putting "another log on the fire of conflict," Procaccini says.

Instead of saying "you should clean up your room" it is more effective, he says, to say "I want you to clean up your room."

"Kids are bombarded with 'you-ing.'" By saying "I" instead of "you," a parent focuses on behavior rather than on the person.

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