In the post, Benevolent Leadership, I shared an occasion when my son refused to cooperate and his behaviour was affecting others. I felt the only thing I could do was shut him in his room until he cooperated. I explained that although I believe my children should have lots of freedom and choice there were times when I needed to deny them what they wanted, especially if it impacted another.
On another occasion I responded completely differently to my son’s refusal to cooperate. Many elements were the same in that he had clear instructions and his refusal did affect another but I knew that his attitude and needs were different. In the first instance he was being mischievous and testing boundaries, whereas this time he was upset. So, although the circumstances were similar, I took a completely different approach.
William had been lying in bed with me when Dad came to bed and asked William to go to his own bed. He has been enjoying sharing a room with his brother and usually happily goes to bed after supper and a story. This time he strongly protested. We asked him several times and explained why it was a good idea but he was crying and refusing to go.
I could see he was upset and remembered that he hadn’t seen much of me that day as I had been in bed with a migraine. He just needed a bit of time with Mum. I offered to sleep with him in his bed which he happily agreed to.
This is one example of why, rather than offering exact processes to deal with a child’s behaviour, I encourage parents to be happy and loving in order to come up with their own unique solution. Research shows that when we are happy, we are more creative and have greater problem-solving capabilities.