Having Trouble with Compliance from Your Children? Ask for Their Input!

Very few people get to the end of their lives and find themselves satisfied with the amount of time and energy they spent when it comes to their family members.

Easy Hard and Hard Easy are concepts which often resonate with Rich Legacy clients and the audiences of our Workshops and Events.

These concepts can manifest in your everyday life, whether that’s at work or at the grocery store. But the family relationships you have may present a more perfect example.

Let’s start with Easy Hard. It refers to starting with the easy route, which can ultimately result in greater challenges down the road. For example, parents choosing to first focus on seeking first to understanding their children, and then having their children understand them.

This is an easier path to take because it requires less work and self-control. “Because I said so” is a go-to move in many families.


One of Rich Legacy’s clients recently was overusing, “because I said so”. The result? A lack of respect from their children. How did the children feel? They felt as though their parents didn’t respect them enough to explain their requests.


Was that the case? NO! Their parents, like most high-performing parents, were go, go, go. Taking time to explain seemed like time they couldn’t afford. The reality is, the amount of time they were now using to argue was taking way more time than a proper explanation.

In response, we structured a meeting for the children to ask their parents about their motivations or reasonings for the most common or hardest to understand requests. We coached the parents to ask the children what about these requests bothered them instead of simply answering. But we also had the parents turn the questions back on their children.

“Why do you think we would ask you to not use your phone at the dinner table?” parents asked. 

Parents are often amazed at the insight and awareness the children share. There are certainly those children who play dumb, or choose not to answer. We see this change overtime as the trust and relationship improves between the parents and the children.

Once the parents have gained some understanding into the children’s thinking and offered their own, they can then seek input from the children on how to work together in order to ensure harmony in the family. The best solutions are those the children come up with themselves because, just like all humans, they feel like something is their own idea, they are much more inclined to follow through.

While this approach may take more time and is initially more challenging, the savings in stress and improvement in relationship are well worth it. Hard, but easy.




One Comment

  1. Dale Boozer March 29, 2017 at 3:05 am - Reply

    Listening to children, I have found, requires being there at those rare “teachable moments”. Parents can’t choose the time or place where a child is willing to tell how they feel. Parents (and others) just have to be available at (often) odd hours, and make listening a priority when a child decides to say something other than light chat. It helps if the parent and child are doing something together, something the child deems to have significant purpose. Building a soap box derby car together, something like that can create several teachable moments. Moments for more than the obvious things such as how drive a nail or install a wheel on a car. Avoiding these special together things reduces the chances, in my opinion, of meaningful listening to your child. Camping out on a several day mountain hike, for example, is a great way to build a bond of trust and is far better for meaningful dialogue than places such as a den with a TV blaring bad news.

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