Dancing with elves

subtitled Parenting as a Perfoming Art, is an excellent book by John Gall (isbn 978-0-9618251-4-0). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
No one can avoid influencing others. The only question is whether we are going to do it knowingly or unknowingly. Our position is that knowledge is better than ignorance.
Command-and-control tries to get 100% compliance - an impossible goal. In the name of discipline, it teaches rigidity.
The mother bird repeats the sequence over and over, with endless patience, until the children learn. You never see a mother bird attack her offspring; you never see her punish her baby for failure to learn the lesson. When the adult animal teaches their offspring, it is done by one method and that is by modelling over and over the desired behaviour.
Talking about your own experiences causes others to access their own similar experiences. I wish I could get across to you how powerful this effect is and how silently it operates.
Words have this incredible power to call up experience.
What a momentous thing you are doing when you speak words to your child or to your spouse or to any other person. You have the power to create their experience, you have the power to shape it, to make it beautiful. You can give them the experience of competence, of comfort, of success.
Somewhere between the first week of life and age forty or fifty, something rather serious happens. We stop using our feedback. We're carefully taught to pay attention to the program inside our head, instead of what's happening in the real world.
When you speak to someone, they split into two pieces. This happens all the time, to everybody. There's a part that wants to go along with what you say, and then there's a part that wants to defend their individuality, they're not going along. There's the part that agrees, and a part that disagrees, simultaneously.
It obviously doesn't make sense to demand impulse control from a little person that doesn't have it.
If you see "stubbornness" then you're naturally going to expect certain things. You're going to act in certain ways, you're going to get an interaction started that assumes this.
What does it mean when you say a person is "just lazy?" or "just stubborn?". It really means that you have tried out some of your repertoire of behavioural interventions in order to elicit a desired piece of behaviour from the other person and you have failed, because your repertoire was too limited.

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