You and your family get together and decide to work towards achieving a goal of saving energy.
…But you have that one person who always has to be the odd man ought.
They don’t like to cooperate. They like to do things their own way.
And you know it’s coming.
…But what can you do about it?
Well, you can’t control that person. But you can set up rewards and consequences to try to influence their behavior.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Make the Reward Hard for Them To Resist
No one likes to miss out on something they love. Everyone has their soft spot.
You know what your stubborn family member can’t do without.
So, set up your energy savings plan such that when your family saves energy, you all share in a reward your obstinate family member really likes.
Maybe it’s as simple as going out for ice cream.
Let them stay home while you go out. Come back with the ice cream in hand.
Be sure to torture them a little in a kind way with whatever it is that you do. Go to every length to make it look really good.
It’s a great way to motivate people to change their behavior.
2. Empathize With What They Might Feel
Yes. It’s hard to feel compassion and kindness for someone who doesn’t want to go along with the main plan in your home.
But, understand that it could be because of something much deeper than they simply like to make things difficult.
Maybe you have a young child or teen who’s under a lot of stress and social pressure at school.
Perhaps they’re struggling and behind academically.
Whenever things aren’t going the way someone would like in life, it’s easy to focus on control where it can be gained.
So have a conversation with them. Just start with,”I know you’re having a hard time with our family energy savings plan. What’s going on?”
See what they say. They may blurt out stresses and concerns you didn’t know they had.
And when those issues get dealt with, you may have a much more cooperative family member.
3. Focus on the Issue and Don’t Tolerate Disrespect
Don’t begin rattling off all the things the other person does wrong. That only escalates the situation.
And if they’re snotty, rude, and being a jerk to you, simply say,”I won’t accept this disrespectful behavior from you. If it continues, you’ll have to [name the consequence]. Now, can we talk about what you’re feeling?”
If they keep it up, enforce the consequence. If they calm down, talk about the issue at hand.
Always steer the conversation toward the issue. If the family member can’t keep focused on the issue, simply end the discussion with,”I can see you’re not ready to have a civil conversation. We can continue it later when you’re calm.”
And then end the discussion and walk away.
Not easy. But sometimes, that’s the way it happens.
Hopefully, some combination of the above will help get your family members on board if they’re feeling resistance to saving energy.
If it doesn’t, stay tuned to this blog for more tips!