Be a C.O.O.L. Parent!

1. Control that you share ~ Give your child two to three choices that you can live with. Example: “Do you want to wear your blue shirt or your red shirt?” You don’t really care what color shirt your child wears and this gives them a sense of having some control.

2. Ownership of the problem ~ Determine who owns the problem. Ask these questions: Am I upset because my child’s upset? (then it’s the child’s problem) What will happen to me personally if the problem isn‘t solved? (if your answer is nothing, then it’s your child’s problem) How might I twist this problem to make it mine? (parents often twist the problem to make it their own).

3. Opportunity for thinking/decision making ~ Set limits and turn fighting words into thinking words. This will take 4 things being mastered:

a. Time ~ when training your child to think for themselves make sure you have time to follow it through.

b. Energy ~ you must have the energy to control your reactions and responses.

c. Support ~ find someone who can listen when you struggle with these steps and can encourage you.

d. Rehearsal ~ practice what you will say and how your child might react. Be prepared for them to fight you at first. This is new to them and they will test their boundaries.

4. Let empathy and consequences do the teaching ~ Find an empathy response that is yours. Give your child logical consequences to their mistakes. It doesn’t make sense to lose T.V. for staying out late. But taking phone privileges away if they are caught on the phone after 9:00 PM (or whatever your limit is) makes sense.


Examples of training them to think: “You may eat what is served or you may wait and see if the next meal appeals to you more.” “Feel free to go out and play as soon as your room is cleaned.”

Examples of Child’s problem ~ Child’s room is a disaster area (it is only your problem when it overflows into the rest of the house).