Please don’t think that, by any stretch of the imagination, I fancy myself a parenting expert! Far from it. If time and parenting a handful of kiddos with a diversity of gifts and issues has taught me anything, its that what I thought I knew for sure, was just a possibility. There are so few clear answers when it comes to human relationships. Thats what makes them such fertile ground for our personal growth. Each and every child is different, as are the parents, which is what makes it all so fun-lol
So with that foundation firmly under foot, and with much trepidation…I will venture a parenting tip =0 Phew- I just broke out into a sweat!
There have been a handful of occasions when I have had to either bite my tongue or remove myself from a situation, lest I interfere in an exchange between a parent and child. I struggle desperately to fling a life ring to a drowning parent whose child has just craftily flung them overboard. But its not my place. Nor would be the most teachable moment.
Children are amazing and wonderful! I get warm-fuzzy’s just thinking about them. But they are clever little monkeys!! And if we aren’t careful they will have us hanging upside down from branches in a matter of seconds. Usually, with only a few words.
I could go into a lot of detail, but here is all I really want to say…DON”T ENGAGE THEM!! Its a trap!
Keep your requests and answers cheerfully simple. Don’t feel like you owe them an explanation. If they argue with you or ask why, there’s no need to really reply, unless to say something like,” Well sweetie, I think I asked you to do something”
If they flat out refuse to do it, your response could be, ” I’m sorry you don’t like what I asked you to do, but I would really hate to see you lose your______ (privilege, or ?) over something like this. Let me know when you’re finished doing what I asked and we’ll do______together” Sometimes I will explain that when they argue or delay, that my patience goes down and that I don’t really know what I will do when that happens. “I can feel it draining out of me so I’m going to give myself a time-out until you decide what you are going to do” It keeps them guessing-they hate it!
In a last ditch effort to frazzle you they may ask you to repeat what it was you asked them to do- don’t fall for it. I like to say, “Well, its pretty distracting in this room, maybe a little quiet in your room would help you to remember.”
If the tone of their voice starts to rise…yours should fall! If they yell, you whisper. It shows them that they are not going to get the best of you. Keep your sense of humor. Tell them that when they yell it makes your tummy tickle or makes you want to furble your tongue. But, whatever you do, stand by what you asked them to do and don’t back down. You are not doing them any favors, what they want is to know that you are strong, someone they can lean on when they need it.
One last thing…
I often hear parents ask their children to do things or correct behavior in front of other children or adults. That works really well if you are looking for drama. If however, you are wanting to maintain calm, it always better to ask them into another room to consult. Or, maybe whisper it in their ear. Touch their shoulder while you do it, smile, be peaceful.