Okay? vs Understand?

okay vs understand So often I hear parents end a statement with “Okay?”

“We are going to leave the pool in 10 minutes. Okay?”

“You should eat your fruit first. Okay?”

“One more block and then you are going to walk. Okay?”

“I’ll be home by bedtime. Okay?”

I like and appreciate how these statements are clear to the child. It is the use of “Okay?” that concerns me. Are they asking for approval from their child? Could the child possibly answer, “Nah, I think we should stay here at the pool for 20 more minutes not 10.” I don’t think so. (Well, I hope not.)

Instead of “Okay” I think the parent really means “Understand?” In these situations we are not asking to negotiate with our child, we want to know that our statement is understood.

Listen to yourself. Are you being clear only to muddle a statement with “Okay?”

Many times parenting involves the fine art of negotiation (I sometimes think my future career lies with the UN.), but not all statements are up for negotiation. When a statement is not open for negotiation, be understood.

Understand?
photo credit: jDevaun via photopin cc

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