Parenting coach says using ‘when’ instead of ‘if’ will decrease struggles with kids

This mom on TikTok shared a better alternative to using “If” statements during disagreements between parents and kids, and it’s a game-changing method for diffusing tense situations!

TikToker Tia Slightham (@parentingcoach) is a parenting coach who’s amassed a following of over 700k users for her strategies geared toward positive parenting. Recently, Slightham shared a hack detailing how a simple language adjustment can help parents communicate with their children more effectively, and it’s an innovative approach to conflict resolution. 

“If your house sounds like this, then I want you to make one simple change,” Slightham states at the beginning of the clip

Slightham goes on to list a variety of phrases with their corresponding text on-screen, all beginning with the word, “If.” For instance, “If you don’t get ready for bed, no books!” 

According to Slightham, using “If” statements invites power struggles and arguments. “Every time you say ‘If,’ you’re picking up your end of the tug of war rope, and your kids pick up theirs to battle you back and see who will win because we can’t force our kids to do things,” Slightham explains. 

Instead of saying “If,” Slightham recommends saying “When.” So rather than saying, “If you don’t get ready for bed, no books,” tell your child, “When you’re ready for bed, then we will do books.” 

Many viewers found Slightham’s advice helpful, while some users weren’t keen on the idea. 

“Started doing this and zero power struggles! If they take too long, then we don’t have time for the ‘when’ thing,” one parent shared.

“Yeah… I won’t be doing that. I’m the parent in my house, my son is not my boss,” said one parent. 

“I can’t believe how much pushback there is to this video. Hurts my heart. Why is it so difficult for parents to treat kids with respect?” questioned one viewer. 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, Slightham’s video illustrates that it’s possible to set boundaries with children while maintaining a sense of compassion.

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