I have good friends who have three kids that are very close in age. The other night I was over at their house and the parents, let’s call them Randi and Mason, were telling my wife and I that they feel like there is a mob mentality in the house. They felt that the kids gang up on them to get their way. I was a little taken aback.

Firstly, parenting shouldn’t feel like a fight. It should feel like a labor of love. Secondly, parenting (and anything for that matter) is so much easier when both “parties” feel they are working toward a common goal. Everyone wants the same outcome and you may have to work out some details. But there should be agreement on the goal. Finally, parenting is so much easier when all the kids and both parents speak the language of love and happiness. Any communication can be like this if there is a little planning ahead.

So many parents feel that they are always fighting with their kids. That makes me so sad because I try to always remember that any time I am speaking with one of my sons, whether it is about life, school or a reprimand, the reason for speaking is that I love him and the purpose is to give him a better life. Those two goals are always front and center.

There are even times, if I know it will be a difficult discussion, when I start off by reminding myself and my son of that fact. “Son, I love you. That is not the issue and that will never change. In addition to that, I am a little upset because…” It is out in the open, never questioned, never up for negotiation, and the whole reason for spending time having the discussion. I always contend that you can never say, “I love you” too many times and you can never give too many hugs.

Whenever I do have to have a difficult discussion with one of my sons, I will often lay out the reason that I am upset or said another way, the purpose that I want to achieve. For example, I might say, “Look, you and I both know that I want you to always be safe. Now we may disagree on what is safe enough, but I think we both agree on that goal. I may think you have to hold my hand to cross the street until you are 18 years old, you may think that bungee jumping from a helicopter over a minefield at age 8 is not unsafe. But we both agree that you should be safe. Correct?” Once we set up a common goal, we can discuss and compromise on what is safe behavior.

When you are speaking with your children, are you using words of love and warmth or words of anger and coldness? Of course we get frustrated sometimes. Of course we “fly off the handle” sometimes. But when those are the exception, your child will know the rule that you speak from feelings of love.

Jack Canfield, in an interview I once heard, explained that all parents only want to protect their kids. For example, you may have walked out into the street and your parent said to you “Don’t you EVER do that again! What were you thinking? I told you not to walk out into the street. How dare you?” What your parent may have forgot to add on was “I get scared when you do that because you might get hurt. I love you so much and I don’t want to see you hurt.” If your Mom or Dad forgot to mention that second part, all you got was the message of anger without the message of love. How unfortunate?!

Back to my friends. I don’t give unsolicited advice, so I didn’t say anything. But if they had asked, I would have advised them to take the following steps:

1. Randi and Mason have to sit down and come up with clear requests. For example, the breakfast dishes have to be put in the dishwasher every morning before you leave for school. The table has to be set for dinner every day. Dinner has to be cleared every day. Laundry has to be folded and distributed three times a week.

2. Once Randi and Mason have clear requests, they have to sit the kids down. Start off by expressing their love. Next, mention that kids have to learn to help around the house so they know how to run a house of their own. Also, it is not fair that either Randi or Mason do all the work if the kids can help. At this point, ask the kids for feedback. Don’t assume the kids agree.

3. Present the list of chores to the kids and then be open to negotiation on the list of chores. Perhaps the kids feel strongly that laundry twice a week is enough?

4. Work with the kids to come up with the schedule. One child each day? Split up the chores? Missy has a hard day on Monday so she will do more on Tuesday? One child folds and distributes or it get’s split up.

With this, the kids learn negotiating skills, compromising skills and responsibility. And if you think this discussion will only happen once, you are mistaken. It may happen numerous times. Each time you will be investing in your child. Isn’t that great?!

Author's Bio: 

Shaya Kass, PhD is a parenting coach. He helps parents create realtionships with their kids that give a lifetime of smiles. Sincere, deep, loving relationships. He offers tips and techniques for growing happy, inspired kids and parents at http://www.PositiveParentPlus.com. Visit now for a free report on The 7 Key Steps to Being A Positive Parent.

Shaya can be reached at DrShaya@PositiveParentPlus.com