Sometimes our children ask us for things that are unreasonable, inconvenient, against our good judgment, or just not possible. Rather than being annoyed, trying to explain and use logic, or even flat out saying “No”, give your child everything he wants in wishful thinking. This is a very powerful tool that can tremendously decrease tantrums, whining and power struggles.
Here are a few examples:
- When your child says “Take the baby back to the hospital” you can say “You wish you were still our only child in the house and we would only play and love you.”
- When your child wants a cookie before dinner you can say “I bet you wish you could finish the whole package of cookies right now.” You can also take one cookie, put it in a bag, and write his name on it.
- If your child is whining for chocolate milk, you could say “You sound like you wish you had a whole swimming pool of chocolate milk right now.”
- When your child wants to play a game and not do homework or chores you can say “Most kids wish they could play all day long and have no homework or chores.”
- When you are driving in the car and your child says he is thirsty, you can say “Wouldn’t it be great if the back of the seat had a faucet that poured cold water out of it.” “What would you want to come out of the faucet, apple juice or milk?” or “Maybe we could have another spout that gave M&Ms.”
Many parents are very skeptical when hearing about this tool. Most of the time it takes them one try to see that it works. Wishful thinking works because it is fun, playful and empathetic (and not sarcastic or mean).
Make sure that you don’t talk after saying this one sentence. Just give your child what he wants in wishful thinking and continue your business, leave the room or just stay quiet.