Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Teach him to make requests politely.

What you can do

Help your child understand who the authority figures in his life are and how he should interact with them. Show him how to make requests rather than demands. Emphasize the importance of treating authority figures with respect.

Use personal stories to explain that everyone has to deal with authority figures. Give examples from when you were a kid about times when you bristled at being told what to do. Be sure to include how you dealt with it. Talk about how your child will get to make more decisions on his own as he gets older. But make clear that until then, he can’t boss adults around.

What you can say

“Jacob, when you called me from school today, you ordered me to bring your soccer shoes to school right away. I need you to know that I was offended by the way you spoke to me.”

“You could have handled this differently. You could have explained that you’d forgotten your cleats and that you needed them for your game today. Then you could have respectfully asked me if I could bring them to you. If you had done those things, I would have felt better about helping you out. Instead, I was both angry and reluctant to bring them to you.”

“You’re not in a position to give orders to me or to any other adults. You need to work on how you ask authority figures for things, or you may find yourself dealing with some very unpleasant consequences.”

Why this will help

Children with learning and attention issues may not clearly understand who’s in charge or may resent that someone has authority over them. By telling your child who the authority figures are and practicing together how to interact with them, you’ll help him get better at communicating in a more socially acceptable way.

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