Parenting Pathway #113: Engage Cooperation

Engaging a child’s cooperation can sometimes feel like pulling teeth. For many parents, it can be exhausting, frustrating, and very time consuming. Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, the authors of the National Bestseller, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk Click, write about tools that, when used correctly and consistently, can help parents engage a child’s cooperation with ease, love, and respect.

One power tool is to simply Describe What You See. Describing what you see is about looking at a situation or problem and in simple terms, stating exactly what you see. 

For example, instead of saying: “You always leave toothpaste in the sink and I get stuck cleaning it up. You’re so irresponsible with the toothpaste!” Simply describe what you see and say: “I see toothpaste in the sink.” Or instead of saying: “You never remember to feed the dog. I should have known that you wouldn’t be able to take care of a pet!” Again, describe what you see with a kind tone and attitude. “Rosie’s dog food bowl is empty.”

You may notice that using this tool is not about blame, stating generalities, or attacking someone’s character. It is about stating the obvious, in a charge-neutral tone, which can help to improve communication and relationship. 

This week, I invite you to try this tool with your children. Create a structure to help you remember to use this tool when you want to engage your child’s cooperation. To do this, you could place the word “DESCRIBE” on a sticky note in a place where you’ll often see it. Remember to watch out for the pitfalls and avoid elaborating on the situation, stating generalities, or out of frustration, making a negative comment about your child’s character. Before reacting to a situation, pause, take a deep breath, collect your thoughts and feelings, then put this tool to work for you.

Coaching Inquiries: How can you engage cooperation rather than provoke confrontation with your children? What is one daily habit you would like to break and one daily habit you would like to begin that will strengthen your communication and relationship?

If you would like to work with a coach who specializes in Parenting Pathways, use the Contact Form or Email Christina to arrange for a complimentary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services