I admire the teachers who have a sence of command about them. You know… the kind that the children immediately sit up straight for when they walk in the room. Unfortunately, I am not one of those teachers. Just this past Sunday one of my students asked me if I always smile. When a tense moment happens, I tend to have a nervous smile… not a good response when children are out of control.
However, I have learned two special words from parenting and teaching that bring calmness to a tense moment.
The first word is need: Instead of commanding, “Justin, sit here,” if I say, “Justin, I need you to sit here,” the atmosphere changes. Justin does not feel like I am demanding something from him but that he is helping me. (BYW, this word works great with husbands too!)
The other word is okay: This word also changes a moment from one where the child thinks he has no choice to one where he has a choice. Yes, the choice may be one to obey or not to obey; nevertheless, it is a choice. So instead of saying, “Justin, I need you to sit here,” I will say, “Justin I need you to sit here, okay?” (BTW: if you are a step-parent or a parent with a strong-willed child, this word really can bring harmony in those power-struggle moments.”
Just one more tip: When you use the two helpful words, make sure you use firm eye contact; this helps the child understand that you are serious.