Renovate your Commands
You haven't cleaned your room for a few days, because you have not been in the mood to do so or you were preoccupied with something else. Finally, you find the time, the mood and tell yourself, "Let's do this". Right at this moment, someone else steps in and orders "Clean your room". How does your energy change before and after this event? It goes down for most. How would you feel while cleaning? You would have been enthusiastic if no one had intervened, but now it might feel a bit tedious.
We have been accustomed to ordering and commanding. But commands don't work well with many. Be it your children, spouse, sibling, or anyone else on the receiving side. Your intention will be good. The message of 'what to do' is delivered well, but for some, the emotion it triggers not only affects how they do it but also the relationship with you in the long run.
So, even if they had intended to do something, what suddenly changes when someone else orders them to do it? When they do it out of their will, they are in control, the one in authority. When someone else steps into the picture commanding them, then they feel belittled and out of control. Humans in general, even kids, don't like the feeling of being controlled or dominated. Trust and respect for each other in the relationship, are affected. As the loudness, speed, and harshness of your voice increase, the greater it inflicts the relationship. Sincerity in doing the task goes down, they would think of somehow just finishing it because they are doing it for someone else.
If you had been expecting them to do something, and they hadn't done it, have an open discussion about expectations. Do not push anyone to do what you think is right when they don't feel the same way. Talk of each other's viewpoints, the reasons, and the consequences. You may explore other alternatives that both agree and are comfortable with. If you still force them to do it when they clearly do not like it, you are digging the grave of your relationship. It is better to do it on your own if you can, rather than constraining them. Instead of understanding and empathy, if fear and disrespect are what you give, be prepared to receive it in your life too.
"I am better than you, so do as I say" is the message they receive when you command. Instead "I trust you to do it" is the message that should be given. When you notice they are not doing what should be done, do not immediately jump to conclusions, label them lazy or irresponsible, and shout out commands. Instead, sit next to them and ask the reason, with a smile and "I am concerned because I love you" tone. Ask them what should be done next. This not only helps to hold them accountable but doesn't snatch away their power from them. They feel in control of themselves. Now, you may suggest a few changes that will help them and offer your assistance, even if you think they do not need it. This expresses you really love and care for them. Thus the situation which usually harms the relationship turns into one that strengthens it.
In the case of children, choices work better than commands. For example, rather than screaming to sit down for lunch, ask them, "Do you want to sit here or there?" pointing to two chairs. As they choose one, they feel in authority and thus happy.
In other relationships, like your spouse, instead of commanding them, tell them how it makes you feel when they do it. For example, "I feel loved when you listen to me attentively." or "I feel happy when you join me in the chores in the morning". Even if it is a duty, commanding them will only push them away from doing it. If they aren't still interested, there might be deeper issues going on. Have a talk and resolve it.
If you are the one at the receiving end of command, even if they sound harsh, think about why they are saying so. Who will benefit from what they are commanding to do? Think about it from all perspectives. Understand that some are saying it out of concern and love, but they have learned a negative pattern in delivering it. If you find it difficult to comply with the commands, talk about it once they have cooled down, instead of lashing out at the spot.
Turn your commands to request, no matter if they are younger or older, no matter if it is a duty or a right. Don't forget to add the magic word please and thank them. Let every communication impart the message of love, care, and respect in all relationships.