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Expert GuidanceGiving Your Kids Control

Giving Your Kids Control

Jon and Sam explain the concept of emotional bank accounts, and they talk about why giving kids choices — instead of issuing commands — can make a positive impact on everyone in the home.

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Hey there, it's Sam and John here. Welcome back. You're listening to audio lesson five which is all about giving your child more control. As parents, it's very easy to fall into the command storm trap, barking order after order at your child, no matter the intention. So in this lesson, we're gonna explore ways to diversify our interactions with our kids. John, can you tell us a little bit more about why it's so important to steer clear of falling into the command trap with our kids? Thanks for asking, Sam. Before we consider the command storm, we have to think about this idea of an emotional bank account. An emotional bank account is how are we doing in being connected and feeling that there is investments both directions, and when we do kind things or when we notice what is meaningful to the other person, we are making deposits or building up that emotional bank account. Whereas being asked to do things in a specific way, at a specific time, is an ask that can be considered an emotional withdrawal of some funds from that bank account. I so relate, and I think that's such a helpful metaphor, thinking of it as an emotional bank account. I've worked with a lot of children who, you can see the resistance between them and their parents because of this, because of the command storm, and they get locked into that pattern and both parties feel pretty helpless around it. Because the parent knows they have these responsibilities but the child doesn't, of course, understand all the layers of responsibility that you as the adult are keeping track of. So I think both can be true, both that there are needs for direction, they are younger and not necessarily as time aware, and it's also the case that that could be exhausting to hear this command storm. If I consider our daily routines from the perspective of my child, I'm asking for a lot of withdrawals from this bank account. Well, there's places to go and certain way to behave and certain tasks you're supposed to do at certain times. So we start to think of all these commands as small withdrawals. Right. I think that empathy goes a long way. Totally. One of the things that might be, "Okay if this is an emotional bank account, "how do I build up "my account's value?" I was gonna ask you that. Yes, good question. I might propose that there's some gold and diamonds that you can consistently reach for and deposit. So one of them is your attention, when you are present in the current moment and trying to attend, and look for the strengths and praiseworthy activities of your child, that is a deposit. If that's gold, what the diamonds might be are opportunities that you can create moments of choice for them. So, let's use the elementary schools' "kooky outfit". Mm-hmm. It's about choice, right? Good work. We could say "We need...


TypeExpert Guidance
Duration5 min

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  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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