While I’ve never been formally trained in “Verbal Judo,” I do know how to use it. And…I’m not afraid to use it in my classroom. Whenever I am about to assign a task that I’m pretty certain the kids are not going to enjoy all that much, I start by saying, “Thanks in advance for not complaining on this one, kids.”
I also enjoy saying things like, “Please line up at the door in a way that’s going to keep me happy.” (Be careful on this one. Once I was tempted to say, “Please line up at the door in a way that won’t cause me to get angry.” Then I remembered that there were probably some kids who would enjoy seeing me get upset.) If they fail to line up in a way that keeps me happy I usually resort to, “I’ll be happy to leave as soon as it’s quiet.”
Here’s a another recent quote after my class was noisily waiting to go to lunch: “I’m going to take the quiet people down to lunch right now. Noisy people go ahead and sit down, and I’ll come back to get you in a while. (Under my breath I muttered, “If I remember.”) Instant quiet.
If you have teenagers that want to borrow the car, you may want to try, “Thanks for driving my car with care and caution. I have no problem letting people borrow my stuff when I know they’re going to take good care of it.” (You may want to throw in a wink and a nod with the last sentence.)
Perhaps you’d like to try, “Your mom and I have decided to serve ice cream at 5:00 to all family members with clean rooms.”
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Wouldn’t it be more fun to make a complete fool of myself by screaming and yelling? Well, it would definitely be more fun for some people, but not you.
Hope this helps,