1. A. COMMANDS 1. HARSH: Main verbs are usually brief and at the beginning of the sentence, e.g. "DO, GET, GO, COME, MAKE, ETC.". This type of command is often used with curse words, labeling the person with extremely negative attributes, and spoken in loud, harsh voice tones, with extreme threats. Usually used with the sound of extreme urgency and implying extreme cost for non-compliance, and implying personal involvement or extreme importance to the authority. 2. Abrupt: Brief, action, main verbs are at the beginning of the command. "Do this! Get over there now! Be here in five minutes or else...! Find it right away or else you're grounded, etc.!" Usually this form includes a sense of urgency, a deadline or time condition, and threats of severe punishment. This is usually accompanied by negative labeling and the assumption of unwillingness to comply. 3. Peremptory: In this case the form is strongly obligatory, e.g. "You + shall or will" + an action verb, indicating there is no choice of when, whether to or how to do what is commanded. There is a sense of urgency and a sound of impatience. Sometimes punishment or negative consequences are specified in case of failure to respond exactly when and as commanded. Rebuttal or discussion is precluded. 4. Moderately Peremptory: The emphasis is at this level is upon one's authority over the child. Initial phrases are such as: "You must or will have to; It is imperative that you," followed by an action verb. There are often brief, moderate specifications for carrying out the command, sometimes small allowances for conditions or contingencies are included. Usually, moderate threats of punishment or negative consequences, such as, "if you don't, you will not get to, you will have to, I will make you,...." The implication is that it should be done exactly and without question simply because the person has the authority to command it. "You'll do it because I say so, because I am your parent. 5. Pressure: The emphasis is on a sense of obligation. "You + should or ought to." "It is the right thing to do. Anyone with a sense of responsibility should feel bound to!" The implication is that non-compliance would be an indictment of the child's character and they should be viewed as guilty for non-compliance, should be looked down on, ostracized, seen as unworthy, etc. FIRM COMMANDS
MODERATE COMMANDS 6. Mild Pressure: The emphasis is upon the authority's personal right and capacity to influence or to make a strong recommendation. "I advise you to." or "You had better!" "I really feel that this is important 7. Influence: Emphasis upon weight of authority's personal preference, or the child's personal character or own interests. "I want you to." "You should want to." Sometimes room is made for negotiation or compromise based on relative interests and/or values of each. 8. Strong Suggestion: At this level the suggestion indicates an ability on the child's part, but questions the child's willingness. Sometimes the suggestion is made politely allowing the person to make a choice, but the implication is that non-compliance will suggest unwillingness and that will be held against the child. "You could; Could you" (spoken with emphasis). 9. Moderate Suggestion: This level Indicates an assumption of ability but there are no undertones of personal or moral accountability for being unwilling to comply. It is used as a means of commanding without the sound of authority. It is merely directing one's attention to what needs to be done or implying the authority's desire that `the job' get done, preferably by you if you are able at this time. `You can.' `Can you?' Spoken matter-of- factly with the expectation the it will be done without question but if not, there will be no consequences. 10. Mild Suggestion: This is a mild form of directing one's attention to tasks available or there to be done. `You might' is used instead of you can; you might and you may.' People sometimes (and often with a tone of put- down or sarcasm) refer to the thing that needs to or should have been done: `This needs to be done' or `I noticed those bags have not been moved!' The implication is that the authority hopes the child will feel responsible or want to cooperate, and if so this would be met with recognition of the child's good will.
PERMISSIVE COMMANDS 11. Permissive but Strong Request: Permission. Used with the assumption that the person is motivated to do the task. `You may,' Sometimes this is modified to a much more polite form with the addition of `if you like or prefer.' This involves a positive attribution and is supposed to motivate the child to want to be recognized in this manner. 12. Moderate Request: This request is presented as a question permitting the possibility of refusal. No attempt is made to overcome a mild lack of motivation, thus making it possible for the subordinate to seem to present himself as positively motivated, because there is no negative consequence, if he chooses to comply. Stated as: "Will you take care of that? Won't you please help out here? Here is something you could do." The option to choose not to do it or choose to do something of higher priority to oneself is open without any negative consequence. 13. Mild Request: This request is presented with a question which is meant to imply how much the subordinate cares for the authority. "Would you?", "Wouldn't you like to?", "Could you?", "Couldn't you please, just for me?" Compliance, therefore, suggests solidarity with the authority rather than obeisance, but non-compliance only suggests that the two of you are not that close or not that synchronized in terms of personal interests or priorities. 14. Polite Request: Requests presented with an implied question of ability or freedom from other encumbrances, really leave the widest margin for possible departure from what is requested and therefore are most likely to reveal the child's true motivations and interests uncontaminated by imposed agendas of the authority or parent. Spoken plaintively in contrast to 9. "Can you, if you don't mind" or "Could you, if, when, and as you feel like it." This is sometimes stated more indirectly and prefaced with a suggestion that the person can or has natural inclination to do something. "I know you are good at such and such, so would you like to...?" 15. Ultra-Polite Request: Extremely mild and polite requests. This form is used at a point of maximum uncertainty where the authority doubts the legitimacy or his right to command or even request such an act. "You would be doing me a great favor if"; "I wonder if you would, could, or-"; "I wish you would;" "If it would not inconvenience you or trouble you...". This is sometimes used as lighthearted sarcasm toward either party as goad to compliance but without any negative consequence.
COMMAND LANGUAGE Below, you will find a list of commands that are ranked in levels from HARSH to ULTRA POLITE REQUEST. Each level has illustrative examples. Your task is to identify the types of commands you use and when you use them. After you have viewed the list, describe, in the blanks below the commands you feel you use and the types of situations or occasions in which that command language is used. Describe the persons involved in these situations and describe their roles or styles of interacting. Indicate the frequency of occurrence of each category of levels of commands that you use. Add comments or your own version of the command that will help clarify what is happening in this interaction. ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________
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