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How to enter your child's world and then get them to actually do what you want them to do.

Let's jump right in. Pretend your son, Tommy, is really engrossed in a TV show, but it is now time for supper. Your task is to get him to come to he table without a fight.

As you already learned, you begin by entering his world. You might go sit beside him and ask him a few (interested sounding) questions about the TV show. When you've successfully entered his world then you have completed step 1. Easy enough.

What do you do next? There are so many options that I can teach you, but I'll pick one that is simple. It is known as a "double bind". It works by creating the illusion of choice. Giving toddlers a choice is highly effective, and keeping the choices limited makes it even more effective. You never want to present a whole assortment of options. Just two or three choices at most. But the trick with a double bind is that the "choices" are all variants of the same basic outcome. There really is no choice!

Example: "Tommy, this is a great TV show. I want to finish watching it with you after I clean up from dinner. Do you want to help me put your supper on your plate right now, or would you like to help me pour you a glass of milk instead?"

As you can see, in this example, we've entered Tommy's world, then we've addressed the TV show he is watching. We then told him we want to finish watching it with him later (preparing him for transition to supper time without him knowing it). Then, finally, we presented him with a double bind. The choices were to help put dinner on his own plate, or help pour himself a glass of milk.

Do we really care which he chooses? No, of course not. They both result in Tommy pulling himself away from the TV set and joining you at the table.

Now, what I showed you in this example was very basic. Some parents already use it - but the power is in the setup! This is a fine point that is not well understood.

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