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Cambridge Youth Commission

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Children and Effective Performance

Are you wondering why your child suddenly doesn't want to do what you ask them to do? It can be a confusing moment for both you and your child, but understanding the root causes of their resistance can help you create new ways to get your child to do what you ask them to do.


Why Does My Child Turn On Me?

A lot of times, children won't do what we ask them to do because they're rebelling against you, or they're frustrated, or they're worried about what you think of them. But there are other reasons that they won't do what we ask them to do, and here's what they are:

They don't know what they have to do. 

As children grow up, they often don't have a clear picture of what they have to do to get things done. They're uncertain about what comes next, and often feel uncertain about their own abilities and the abilities of others to help them with their jobs. As a result, they often don't know what to do when you ask them to do what they're asked to do.

They're afraid of what you think. 

This is a common fear of all children, but is particularly acute in children who are afraid of you finding out about their mistakes. They may be afraid of losing your respect and approval, or of losing your trust.

They don't trust themselves. 

If they're constantly second-guessing themselves and second-guessing what they have to do, they may be reluctant to do what you ask them to do because they don't trust themselves.

  They're just too tired.   

You may have to repeatedly ask them to do what you want them to do, and they may be tired because they've been on the job a long time.

They don't know how to ask you to do what you want them to do. 

This is a common source of resistance to requests. The child may not know how to ask you to do what they want them to do, and may say things like, "I can't do that," or "I don't know where to start," or "I don't know if I can do that."

As parents, we can help our children become effective performers by learning to listen to them more closely. When we do, they'll be able to communicate their needs, negotiate their opportunities, and execute their plans. And they'll be able to do this more clearly, precisely, and quietly because they'll know you're there to help them.  

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