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  • Writer's pictureM Atkinson

Craft your families’ framework

You don’t want your child to grow up needing assertiveness training. And you want your child to listen to you when you want to get out of the house in the morning. The balance between giving space and making decisions for your child doesn’t have to be one or the other.


An example in which a child doesn’t seem to cooperate in the morning to get ready for school on time in the morning gives us a great opportunity to craft your families’ framework.


The child in our example may not eat quick enough, still needs a lot of assistance in starting to get dressed and starts to cry when teeth need to be brushed. By the time you’re out of the door, you’ve had two angry moments and the child has suffered one meltdown. And the day has just begun. Where to start?

The frame is the fact that the child has to eat, has to be dressed and has to have clean teeth. Within this frame, what choices does the child have?


To what extend does the child have a say in what he gets for breakfast?

To what extend does the child have a say in how much he eats?

To what extend does the child have a say in what he will wear?

To what extend does the child have a say in what order the necessary things happen?


Consciously involve your child in decision making where possible within your framework. Move with your child and your child will move with you.


Take 1 Getting ready


Parent: “Come on, take bigger bites! We’re going to be late again! You’ve not brushed your teeth yet!”


Child: “I’m eating!”


Parent: “No talking, chew!”



Take 2 Getting ready


The evening before:

Parent: (thinking) Ok, we’re going to do it different tomorrow. I’ll ask him tonight to choose his clothes for school and hang them up. Then I’ll make his breakfast with him now, so that’s done and all he has to do is eat it, which is more likely to happen because he helped make it. Hmm, maybe I’ll care to ask why he hates brushing his teeth so much.

“Hey, I’d like to see if our mornings can be a bit smoother and I wanted to ask you to think along.


Child: “Ok.”


Parent: “I have a clothes hanger here, so you can hang up your clothes for tomorrow now, that will save us some time. When you’re done picking and hanging up your clothes, I’d like to make our breakfasts together.”


Child: “Ok. But I don’t know what I want to eat tomorrow.”


Parent: “Let’s discuss that when you’re done with your clothes.”


In the kitchen


Parent: “We know you don’t like bread in the morning, what would you eat?”


Child: “Yes, that’s too chewy for when I just woke up! Can we try cornflakes with milk?”


Parent: “Sure, what can you already do now to have that bowl ready quickly in the morning?”


Child: “No milk yet, soggy cornflakes are gross. I’ll put a bowl with cornflakes in the fridge, next to the milk.”


Parent: “Good, go for it.”


Child: “And then what?”


Parent: “I think it’s a good idea to talk about brushing your teeth.”


Child: “Do we have to?”


Parent: “Well, what makes you hate it so much?”


Child: “It’s the taste after I had my breakfast, and the feeling it gives my teeth.”


Parent: “What can we do to make brushing your teeth less horrible for you, because you still need to do it.”


Child: “Can I brush my teeth before breakfast?”


Parent: “Let’s see how that works. Are you ready for tomorrow?”

Child: “Yes, I’m actually looking forward to it!”


I am happy to help out in creating your families' framework and improve your family life. Contact me and book your session!

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