KEEPING THE GOOD IN “FOR THEIR OWN GOOD”
Everyone hates having things done “for their own good.” Even our pets object to being plunged into flea baths or dragged to the vet—and while they forgive us quickly, that doesn’t stop them from putting up the same struggle the next time. They sense we have their best interests at heart, but they still don’t understand why we have to do it this uncomfortably.
Children may be more capable of understanding why they have to go to the doctor, be in bed before sunset, or eat foods besides their top three favorites, but they still don’t enjoy it. And they’ll enjoy it less if we emphasize “it’s for your own good,” which to them is just another version of “Because I said so.” With the added humiliation of our implying they should be grateful for such misery.
There are better ways of motivating kids to cooperate with life’s necessary evils—ways that start with making things less miserable, even enjoyable.
If it doesn’t seem enough (or possible) to make an activity more fun, balance it with more desirable activities.