Influence is greater than Force

**Well, that was a fail. ** 🤷🏾‍♀️

Its a rainy day in Atlanta and I just got back from storytime with my three year old son, and the sentence above pretty much sums up my initial feelings about it.

When we first got into the room, things were cool. We were early, so story time hadn’t started yet.

My son was running around a bit, but I could still get him to focus on a book here and there, and keep him from putting his hands in another kid’s face.

But when storytime started, it was the beginning of the end.

The librarian started reading and he immediately turned into a clown. It was showtime. 🤡

My son got up and ran out of the room, and anytime I would bring him back to the carpet to listen, he would wail so loud I could no longer hear the librarian reading the book, ”El Perro Sombrero.”

Is it sad that i was really looking forward to hearing the story? *kid at heart*

I digress.

The point was, I felt so out of control. I felt like a failure because I was unable to get my son to cooperate, and the more I pushed, the wilder he behaved.

I was feeling pretty discouraged on the car ride home, especially since he was a complete angel once we got back in the car.

It wasn’t until we got home that I realized how I had contributed to the situation. I allowed my son’s behavior to INFLUENCE me, and then I tried to use FORCE to get him back in line.

It didn’t work, and i think its because between influence and force… influence will usually win.

Here are a few reasons I think influence is greater than force:


My son knew what I wanted him to do, but he didn’t feel compelled to do it because I was using force and not influence. I was grabbing him and sitting him on the carpet, instead of giving him a more enticing reason to sit down.

I felt frustration, and so that was what he mirrored back to me.

Perhaps he would have cooperated if I had a different approach, or if I wasn’t so adamant about maintaining control over him.

In general, we human beings don’t like to feel like we are forced to do one thing or another. We want to make our own decisions, or at least feel like we are!


When we are FEELING a certain way, this impacts our behavior tremendously. Sometimes in ways we don’t even realize.

When my son deviated from the behavior I deemed appropriate, I started to feel helpless and out of control. This feeling took me over, and resulted in him acting more out of control.

When I tried to force him to behave differently, it was not received well because he wasn’t FEELING compelled to do what I wanted. He felt compelled to feel how I felt: out of control.

Research has proven that most of what we do as humans is due to our subconscious programming. In regular words that means our feelings drive us! Our conscious minds can only influence so much…the feelings will always win when it comes down to it.


Force is like an irritant; its like an annoying gnat or bug. It doesn’t make you want to cooperate; it makes you want to fight.

Influence feels good, so you want more of it.

So what do you think? Do you find yourself using more force, or influence in your life? What have you learned along the way?

I would love to hear from you!


Nia Venus 💋

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