As parents we know that scolding children is problematic, but we often do not know what else to do. While it may solve a particular problem at the time, it often creates hurt feelings that eventually lead to decreased self-esteem.
What to do?
Our doctors just might have the answer. They call it “motivational interviewing.”
Here are some key points about this process that were explained in the April 30th Wall Street Journal article called To Motivate Patients to Change, Doctors Stop Scolding.”
1. “Instead of telling patients what to do and scolding them when they don’t do it, clinicians ask the individual what changes he or she is willing to make, and then promote patients desire, confidence and commitment to following through.”
2 Instead of lecturing or giving scary warnings which “can cause patients to become defensive and disengage,” doctors present choices.
3. Instead of criticizing what the patient is doing, medical professionals “bring their patients back on board and empower them to consider difficult changes. When people are struggling, they don’t like being told what to do, and they dislike being labeled and blamed.”
Here are a few of the major words to avoid–must, should, and have to
NOTE: Always stop bad or dangerous behavior as soon as possible. That is a different issue. “Motivational interviewing” is for longterm success. This kind of interaction is to be used when you and your child are calm and can discuss the “heart-of-the matter” together. Here are some common examples for when you might find this technique to be helpful. There are many others.
* Picking up toys and keeping a room tidy
* Playing quietly at someone else’s house
* Eating in a more healthy manner