“Should I force my child do something they do not want to do?”

This week’s training theme very naturally lead me to today’s parenting tip. Here is question I often get from young parents:

“Should I force my child do something they do not want to do?”

My answer usually surprises them. I often will answer - “Actually yes, and you should start doing it early in their lives and often!” Here are a few reasons:

  • How long should you push them: When anyone first starts to learn something new it is often not fun yet or even hard or uncomfortable. This can often be the case with reading. Like any skill many children have just not practiced enough for it to get into the “fun” zone. A good way to look at is with this question - “How long would you give a baby to learn to walk before you let them give up?” The answer is “As long as it takes!” This is why all babies learn then love to walk then run!

  • Discipline: Many parents will tell me “My child needs to learn to be more disciplined!” Every time your child encounters something they do not want to do you should get excited. This is a fantastic “learning opportunity”. We all learn best from our life experiences and this is one of the best. Here is the key: Discipline is just learning to do things you do not want to do! When you let them avoid or shy away from the task you are actually developing the opposite skill and habit!

  • Delayed Gratification: This is a skill that separates those that are successful from those that struggle in life. Have you heard of the famous “Marshmallow Experiment” done in the 1970’s at Stanford University? Basically, they placed a marshmallow in front of a young child and said “You can eat that marshmallow now but if you wait 15 minutes I will give you a second one.” Some kids could resist the urge to eat the marshmallow while others ate it the second the researcher left the room! They found a clear correlation between the kids that held off and their success later in school and life. They measured this by tracking the child through their life by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index (BMI), and other life measures. Can your child do something more important or valuable now and hold off doing something more fun (or gratifying)?

  • Type Two activities: Here a very advanced concept of success. This last one may be the most powerful reason to force your child to do something they do not want to do. I recently learned this from a personal development expert. There are four types of tasks or activities. A Type One activity is “something you like to do and is good for you”. A Type Two activity is “something you do not like to do but is good for you”. An example might be working out or going on a healthy diet. A Type Three activity is “something you like doing but is not good for you”. A good example of this is doing drugs or over doing alcohol or food. Finally a Type Four activity is “something you do not like doing and is not good for you”. This might be smoking if it repulses you and you adamantly believe you would never put anything bad in your body. Highly successful people learn to turn their Type Two activities into Type One’s!!!!!!!!!!

So should you force your child to do something they do not want to do?....................................Heck yah, and you should find as many of them as you can!!!!!!!


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