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I ask my kids “almost everything” like would you like to set the table? What I really mean is please set the table. How do you make the difference between a question and a directive clear for the children in the house without sounding mean?

A directive question elicits a one word response, yes or no. A non-directive question
is open-ended and encourages a more thoughtful response. When we are asking our kids to complete tasks around the house it is best if we make a clear request. It is important to establish early on as the parent you are in the role of authority and there is an expectation of respect in exchange for your role as caretaker. As parents we too often make the mistake of apologizing to our children for parenting. Establish clear limits. If we keep it positive, simple and specific we will most likely get the result we are looking for. Small children and adolescents rarely hear more then the first request so be specific and use a polite normal tone of voice.

Give Clear Instructions:

1. Be Direct
2. One request at a time
3. Positive, Polite tone of voice

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