Podcast Episode 166: Tell Don’t Ask – A Ninja Tactic That Really Works

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

Have you ever had it happen where you’re asking your child to do something, and he or she is saying “no”?

Depending on your child’s age or developmental maturity level, I bet you hear that word – “no” – an awful lot.

Today’s ninja tactic digs into one way to cut down on the noes!

It’s all about giving kids directives instead of asking, which sounds simple but in reality can be pretty complicated: when do we give them choices, ask questions, and when is it time to give a directive and communicate to them that “this is not a choice”?

Click weturnedoutokay.com/166 for show notes and key links to this episode!

Sometimes we want to give our kids choices; it’s nice to be able to choose, it gives our kids some power and independence when we can give them choices. Even about really simple things like which shirt to wear, or who to sit next to at suppertime.

But then other times, we must give them directives. Because we just need them to do what we need them to do.

Yet we fall into the linguistic trap of “asking”:
“Are you ready to get into the car?” Or “Do you want to get into the car?”

When we phrase our directives in the form of questions, we may not mean it this way – but it gives kids an out, a way to say “no.”

At these times, we need to phrase our directives in a way where we’re not giving our kids the option to say yes or no.

I think of this ninja tactic as “Tell – Don’t Ask.”

It’s a directive, firm without being angry or hurtful, and in your best non-threatening “I mean business” voice.

Even now that I have teen sons, this voice still gets results.

Cultivated while your kids are still young, you’ll always have Tell Don’t Ask to fall back on!

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