Combining Both “Wants” for a Win

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A Parenting Strategy of Reciprocity

  • Read and discover the best diagrams and maps of how people control and manipulate you.


  • First, ask yourself what it is that you want your child to do.
  • Express it clearly to yourself in behavioral or action terms.
  • For example, “I want them to write only on the chalkboard and not on the walls.”


  • Now determine for yourself what your child wants in relation to writing on the chalkboard.
  • For example, your child wants to have fun making pictures of houses.


  • Now combine what you want and what they want into one sentence that you can offer to them as a gift.
  • This is the skill part of the strategy.
  • Perfect practice makes perfect.
  • For example, “You will have fun drawing houses on the chalkboard by keeping the houses on the chalkboard and away from the walls.”


  • This is making what you want what they want so that there will be no resistance.
  • “Do you want to draw pretty houses by keeping them on the chalkboard?”


  • After they agree that that is what they want, then, and only then, offer it to them.
  • If they do not agree, then reword your sentence until it is what they want.
  • For example, “Okay, I will let you have the fun of making and keeping houses centered on the chalkboard.”


“You don’t want to get hurt and you do want to be careful while cutting that paper don’t you?”

“You like to have fun with your brother and share toys don’t you?”

“Would you like to keep your paper and crayons on the kitchen table while you color?”

“Would you like to play quietly with your dinosaurs on the floor while I make a phone call?”

“Would you like to take your new toy boat with you while you take a bath?”


  • This strategy is useful when it does not make sense to offer options and you want to avoid a conflict.
  • This strategy avoids giving choices or options that are not real or that are artificial.
  • False options can lead to conflicts as when you really only want one response or choice to be made.
  • This strategy also avoids demands, commands, orders, and the power struggles they sometimes help foster.
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10 Parenting Rules to Learn & Practice

Quotations from Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

Listed Alphabetically

“Arguing with your children demonstrates you are going to dance their dance.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Arguing with your children gives credence to their position.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Arguing with your children gives your children equal power and voice, which they don’t really have so this will cause resentments later.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Arguing with your children ignores the fact that their purpose is to gain power and control, not truth.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Arguing with your children ignores the fact that they are not struggling to understand but only to undermine.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Arguing with your children lowers your position and raises theirs.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Arguing with your children proves you are going to dance with their position.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Arguing with your children puts you on the defensive and your children on the offensive.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Arguing with your children shows a lack of understanding of the dynamics of arguing.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Arguing your children’s garbage convinces your children that you respect their garbage.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

Quotations from Various Sources

Listed Alphabetically

“A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.” —Anonymous

“A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” —Dorothy Canfield Fisher

“A parent owes their children three things: example, example, example.” —Anonymous

“A wise man thinks all that he says. A fool says all that he thinks.” —Church bulletin board

“Allow children to be happy in their own way, for what better way will they find?” —Samuel Johnson

“Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken.” —Orson Card

“And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” —Isaiah 54:13

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” —Ephesians 6:4

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” —I Peter 1:15

“Children have more need of models than critics.” —Joseph Joubert

“Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.” —Rabbinic saying

“Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence.” —Spanish proverb

“Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.” —Psalms 28:3

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” —Colossians 3:21

“Foolishness always results when the tongue outraces the brain.” —Unknown

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,” —II Timothy 3:2

“For the Lord hath given the father honour over the children, and hath confirmed the authority of the mother over the sons.” —Ecclesiasticus 3:2

“Home ought to be our clearinghouse, the place from which we go forth lessoned and disciplined, and ready for life.” —Kathleen Norris

“If it’s your job to relieve your child’s frustration, then it’s your child’s job to annoy you.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” —Abigail Van Buren

“If you want to work for world peace, go home and love your families.” —Mother Teresa

“In disputes between parents and children, the children always get the upper hand.” —Achad Ha’am

“Paradoxically, even though parenting is the hardest and most important job there is, parenting is also the job with the least education, requirements, and training.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Parenting is the only job you are guaranteed to fail at.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” —Proverbs 16:24

“Some man holdeth his tongue, because he hath not to answer: and some keepeth silence, knowing his time.” —Ecclesiasticus 20:6

“Something you consider bad may bring out your child’s talents; something you consider good may stifle them.” —Chateaubriand

“Teach your children to put God first and to soothe themselves and you are a successful parent.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” —Theodore Roosevelt

“The best thing any parent can do for their children is to love their other parent.” —A paraphrase of someone else’s saying.

“The first duty of love is to listen.” —Paul Tillich, 1886-1965

“The most precious things in speech are pauses.” —Ralph Richardson

“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We proclaimed you sound when you were foolish in order to avoid taking part in the long, slow, slogging effort that is the only route to genuine maturity of mind and feeling. Thus, it was no small anomaly of your growing up that while you were the most indulged generation, you were also in many ways the most abandoned to your own meager devices by those into whose safe-keeping you had been given.” —Midge Decter