How to Win Friends and Influence your Stepchildren
By Jo Ball - The Stepfamily Coach
Okay, so I admit it, I adapted the famous title of Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends and Influence People, a book that contains powerful messages from great leaders about how to have others like you and do almost anything you ask.
I' don't know about you, but I'm thinking stepchildren!
Sounds great, doesn't it? And here I was thinking 'How can the message of this best-seller be put to good use with my stepchildren?'
That's when my 6-year-old stepdaughter showed me I had more to learn when it comes to gaining co-operation.
When stepchildren refuse
One sunny morning I was busy preparing for visitors arriving later that day when my stepdaughter, after mooching around for a while, came to me wondering what she could do. There was a lot to get done and I could do with some help. So I innocently asked 'Would you please sort the underwear in the airing cupboard into piles and put them on the bed of the person they belong too please?' She had done this job for me before and I thought it wasn't too much to ask. Without any hesitation a simple, straight forward, 'Narh' came back. Shocked (well I had asked really nicely) I said, 'oh, so you aren't going to help me?' trying to pile on a little bit of guilt in the hope she'd change her mind. 'Narh, I don't want to do that' was the reply as she stood in the doorway casually swinging her leg back and forth.
I was dumbfounded. I didn't know how to react. I knew that now ordering her to do the job after asking her would send out the wrong message. I didn't want her to think that every time someone wanted help you had to give it or you'd be made to anyway. But I also felt putout because I wanted her to do this little job for me.
You need to know how to build co-operation
Of course there are times when you need to simply tell children what to do, but the more you empower and encourage co-operation the better this is in the long run. Whilst reading How to Win Friends and Influence People I began looking for answers to how to influence my stepchildren without becoming an ogre but at the same time creating a spirit of co-operation. The book reminded me of some things I'd leant a while ago which have held me in very good stead as a step-parent.
Refreshing my memory now has spurred me on to remembering to use them. My partner read this book more than a decade ago and admits to having been using the techniques in our family pretty much daily. I'm convinced that this style of communication is one of the main reasons our stepfamily lives in relative peace and harmony.
I recommend you get a copy of the book Click here to find out more at Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/redirect.html?link_code=ur2&tag=unstoppableli-21&camp=1634&creative=6738&location=%2Fs%2Fref%3Dnb_ss_w_h_%3Furl%3Dsearch-alias%253Daps%26field-keywords%3Dhow%2Bto%2Bwin%2Bfriends%2Band%2Binfluence%2Bpeople%2Bdale%26Go.x% it's useful in all areas in life. Below I've summarised what I've found to be the key techniques for a stepfamily. Many of them I've used for a while with great success. Others, well my stepdaughter's indirect feedback tells me I still need to practice!
· Don't criticise, condemn or complain about the children (or anyone in your family). This knocks self-esteem and gives children the feeling of needing to 'fight' back.
· Give honest and sincere appreciation. You'll boost their confidence and they'll want to do more for you.
· Arouse in them an eager want. Think about what the child wants i.e. fun, attention, etc and work from this understanding rather than what you want of them, they'll be more willing and you will, as if by magic, usually get what you want too.
· Smile and be friendly. The children will want to please you more when you do.
· Be a good listener. Encourage them to talk about themselves.
· The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
· Show respect for their opinions. Never say, 'You're Wrong'
· If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
· Let them feel that the idea is his or hers.
· Be sympathetic with the child's ideas and desires. Try and build their idea into what you want them to do.
· Dramatise your ideas. Your enthusiasm will be infectious and they'll want to be apart of it.
· Let them save face.
· Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be lavish with your praise.
· Give them a fine reputation to live up to.
· Use encouragement and make mistakes seem easy to correct.
· Make them happy about doing the thing you suggest.
By following these messages you'll be armed with techniques that will enable you to create harmony and co-operation in your stepfamily easily. This does wonders for your confidence too. The thought of implementing these things and wondering how to get started can be a daunting; seeking help is a good idea.
Until next time!
About the Author
For a free report, "7 Secrets For Blending A Family Without The Stress And Strain", including tips and ideas that you can use immediately with your stepfamily visit http://www.TheStepfamilyCoach.com and we'll send your copy now!
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