Most parents will bump up against a, “you can’t make me!” threat from a child at some point in their parenting career. This is actually a factual statement. We may strongly influence each other, motivate each other, inspire each other, but we can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do. Defiance is a spark that is always asking to be redirected or difused. Yelling and intimidating don’t work effectively because those are “airy” actions that just fan the flames of rebellion or defiance. Better to meet this fiery energy with the solid energy of earth. For example: “I won’t clean my room and you can’t make me!” can be met with. “The family plan for today is to do our chores and then go see a movie together. I hope you accomplish your chore in time to join us. If you need help let me know.” Even older “kids” respond to this approach. I once had a son who refused to empty the dishwasher. When it became obvious that he would need to hand wash his dishes in order to eat dinner, the chore was quickly completed. No need to nag or harangue. That spark of rebellion will transform quickly, becoming the “firey” energy of accomplishment if you stand quietly, confidently….. waiting patiently.

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