There's a whole world of different ways to get others to be good and to do good. Guilt, shame, humiliation, manipulation, coercion, fear, criticism, belittling. While these may be effective, they are emotionally damaging and, in the long run, will not serve us well. At the very least, they alienate us from the ones we love. They also do not teach correct principles. We should want others to do good because it is the right thing to do, not out of fear or some other negative emotion. Here's where good, open and honest communication works well.

The best way to get others to behave well and to do good is by invitation.

How do we do that?

Being an example is an effective method. Behave the way you would like to see them behave. You are happy. They want to be happy. Eventually, they step out on a limb and try the behavior. It works for them. They become happy. They permanently adopt the change. This, however, is a long-term solution.

In the short-run, here is a series of suggestions to affect a change:

"I" statements

Letting them know how you feel about their bad behavior by using I statements is a very direct method of cluing them in. "I feel unhappy when you talk to me that way." "I am not comfortable with doing this assignment. I don't feel like it is the best way to handle the situation." "I am really feeling tired from trying to keep you happy."

Give them some time

Once you have established how you feel using the I statements, give them some time to process what you've said. Let them know that you want to revisit the conversation in a short while.

Make suggestions

There is usually more than one way to skin a cat. Once you've given them some time and space, engage in a conversation and offer some suggestions on how to remedy the situation. Ask them if they have any ideas.

Then invite

Now that you've had effective dialogue free from harsh accusations and manipulation, and you've expressed your feelings and offered possible solutions invite them to try one of them.

Finish with more "I" statements

"I'm going to be so much more comfortable with handling things this way." "I'm going to feel much more at ease when there isn't so much yelling around here." "I like the way we worked this out."

Reinforce the good behavior

Using genuine compliments as a reward for good behavior is important as a reinforcement. Doing things differently can be difficult. It is good to realize that and have empathy and compassion. They are trying out something that may be very alien to them. Give positive feedback often.

Whether it is children misbehaving, an out-of-control boss, a buttinsky in-law or a spouse that needs a little refining around the edges, these suggestions should prove efficient and useful.

As you work through them, remember:

  1. Keep it private and without distraction.

  2. Make eye contact.

  3. Speak in a gentle voice.

  4. Work on one behavior at a time so as not to overload or cause insecurity.

  5. This is not a 100 percent guaranteed solution, but it is a good place to start.

  6. Pray every step of the way, inviting the spirit to touch the hearts of both of you with patience and love.

In the long run, all of our relationships are worth the trouble of making them work and keeping all parties happy. Inviting others to engage in good behavior is a good way to keep the wheels turning.

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