Show 68 – Don’t do it because I said so!

“I’ll be forever grateful to my children for educating me about the limitations of the objective of getting other people to do what you want. They taught me that, first of all, I couldn’t make them do what I want. I couldn’t make them do anything…They taught me that any use of coercion on my part would invariably create resistance on their part, which could lead to an adversarial quality in the connection between us. I don’t want to have that quality of connection with any human being, but especially not with my children, those human beings that I’m closest to and taking responsibility for.” Marshall B. Rosenberg (, Raising Children Compassionately

Dr. Rosenberg gently challenges people to see the limitations of any kids of punishment by asking themselves two questions.

1)      What do you want your child to do differently?

2)      What do you want your child’s reasons to be for acting as you would like them to act?


Most parents don’t think of that second question. It’s not something I learned in school or at home. I just did what my parents and teachers asked unless I was willing to suffer the consequences of not doing that. When I followed what my parents and teachers wanted, I got the praise. Isn’t that good?


Cathy Bucher, a teacher for 20 years and the Youth Program Leader at the Diversity Retreat in Northern California at the end of July, 2011, says it’s easy to know what we want our children to do differently and why. However, that second question is  equally important. I want my children to contribute because it feels satisfying to give to the ones we love. I don’t want them to be doing things out of obligation or guilt.


We ask: Why would we want to ask that second question? Why would I want to question the reasons my child does what I say she should do?


Aired live: Sunday, June 5th, 2011 0800-0900 Eastern Standard Time on CFRU 93.3 FM, Guelph, Ontario, Canada


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