|This is me encouraging autonomy at Ikea. Run through the empty warehouse aisles, little one.|
- Give information, leave out the "no." Instead of saying, "no, you can't stay at the park." Just say, "we are having dinner in five minutes"
- Accept feelings. "I can see that you really want to stay here, it can be hard to leave when you are having so much fun." (sometimes it is easier to agree to something if you feel like someone understands your feelings.)
- Describe the problem. "I'd like to stay at the park too, the problem is we have to eat dinner soon."
- When possible, give a yes. So instead of "no, you can't have a cookie" say, "yes, you can have a cookie, once we finish dinner."
- Give yourself time to think about it. "Let me think about it." gives the impression that you are really considering their perspective, which is encouraging to the child. And it gives everyone a time to calm down a bit, distract themselves from the urgent feelings, and maybe consider alternatives on their own.
Again, this all can apply to any relationships. Like in a marriage. It is important to give your husband autonomy (you can wear this tie, or that tie. Just kidding). But anytime you disagree on a decision, it can be helpful to ask yourself: am I getting involved in the minutiae? And if you are not, it can be helpful to re-frame the disagreement so that it becomes a problem to be gently solved.