You must get comfortable with the fact that sometimes your kids are simply not going to like you or be happy with your choices. You must get comfortable with the silent treatment and feeling that distance.

I don’t want you to be mean, short, abrupt, rushed, hurried. I don’t want you to be insulting, personal, or sharp in tone. Some parents are afraid their child is going to be upset with them or not like them if they are firm. Now the child is in control because you are afraid. Kids pick up on that. They exploit that.

But I do want you to be even, matter-of-fact, confident, like you’re in charge and you know what’s best. There’s no emotion in your voice at all.

“I respect you enough to believe you are capable of following my directions without me having to beg you or talk too sweetly to you. I’m not inviting you into a conversation here. I’m giving you a direction and I expect you to follow it.” Kids feel safe when someone is in charge and sets clear limits without pleading or threatening.

It’s confidence. It’s self-respect. I’m a grown adult and I know what’s best for you. But I’m not going to beg, plead or ask you fourteen times. Nor am I going to lose my temper when you don’t listen and resort to yelling and threatening. I’m simply going to tell you, expect that you’re capable, and then follow through by quietly taking action if you don’t do what I ask you to do. There’s no drama, no yelling, nothing personal here.

Strong-willed kids don’t care how much you lecture, reason, yell, or plead. You sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher and they simply ignore you. You think you can somehow reason with them—they are NOT looking to be convinced. They are looking for a leader who takes action. THEN AND ONLY THEN will they listen. When you actually DO what you say you were going to DO, quietly, confidently, humbly.

It’s hard, but critical. Are you ready to do this?