Parenting a child with compliance issues requires some extra thought into how you speak to your child and specifically how you get them to comply with basic tasks like getting dressed, cleaning up, going potty, doing homework, etc.
All instinctive language and communication skills go out the window as you need to learn specific strategies that allow you to reduce your child’s non-compliant behavior. You can set yourself up for success but it requires you retraining your brain some when it comes to how you approach certain situations.
What do we mean by non-compliance?
This is when a child fails to start or complete a task or follow an instruction. Non-compliance is a common trait among children with autism and something that is often addressed during ABA therapy.
Here are a few basic tips to help with the day to day activities of parenting a non-compliant child:
- Don’t ask yes or no questions. More than likely the answer will always be no and you are just setting yourself up for failure.
- Give choices where you are happy with either being chosen. That way, they feel like they’re in control and you still get a positive outcome.
For example, When getting dressed – “Would you like to put your shirt or your shorts on first?”, when asking them to clean up their toys – “Do you want to clean up your legos or the playdough first?” or when going potty – “Do you want to go now or would you like for me to set a timer and we can go when the timer goes off?”
- If you make a request, make sure you have enough time to follow through with it, otherwise, you are accidentally rewarding their non-compliance and teaching them you won’t follow through with your requests.
For example, if you’re trying to get to an appointment or school on time and you tell your child to clean up their playroom, you may be setting yourself up for failure, depending on how compliant your child is being on that particular morning.
- If you really need them to do something, don’t ask “will you?” “can you?”, use statements instead “It’s time to eat,” “You need to go get dressed,” or “Put your shirt on please.”
- If you’re approaching a non-preferred task like a haircut, start talking about it several hours before so you can talk through the steps, give them choices on how they want to begin and discuss a reward for completing the task.
- Last but certainly not least, PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE and REWARD, REWARD, REWARD. As parents, it can be so easy to overlook the positive activities that our child performs and only focus on the negative. And remember, when you are praising your child, be specific. “I love how you got dressed so quickly.” “You did such a great job eating all of your food at breakfast.” “I’m so proud of how still you sat during your haircut today.”