Tag Archive for: Talking to Children
I was in the supermarket last week, listening to a multitude of beeps from scanners, when a new sound caught my ears. It was a kid, a preschooler, begging for one of those baby bottle suckers with the sugar inside. She wanted the cherry flavour.
“Mummy, can I have this?” the little girl asked.
“No, honey,” the mother smiled.
“But mum, I don’t have one.”
“We have plenty of lollies at home,” the mum reminded.
“But I don’t have this one.”
“I said no,” the mother replied, while looking through an entertainment magazine.
With having no luck breaking her mother down verbally, the little girl upped her ante. Her face turned red and words about unfairness and meanness erupted from her mouth.
And then her next strategy: crying. In between her cries and words, she delivered gasps of air, purely for effect.
“Just put it in the cart,” the mum replied. “But you can’t have it until after dinner.”
“Can I just have one bite in the car?” the little girl asked.
“We’ll talk about it when we get in the car.”
The little girl’s tears turned to smiles within less than one minute of her setting eyes on what she wanted.
Now, I’m far from a perfect parent, but I cringed knowing what this mother had just traded. Basically her soul. She traded a nasty temper tantrum for a life of bargaining between her and her little sweet pea. And the sad thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way, nor should it.
I wanted to hand the mum a laminated card with these five fail-proof sayings burned into the paper. They’ve worked for me for years and remind me of chocolate. Every single one of them is good and I pick which “flavour” depending on my mood.
Next time your mini cross-examiner is giving you the run-down, take charge, be a mum, and above all, be consistent.
If you say no, you better mean it. By changing your mind, your child has gained more than a lolly; they’ve gained the knowledge you can be broken down easier than a cardboard box.
Have fun practicing these phrases with your little interrogator:
1. “Asked and answered.”
This is the motherload of all chocolates. Although I use the four below, I use this one ten more times then I use anything else. Let’s replay the scenario from above.
Child: “Mummy, can I have this?”
Mother: “No, honey.”
Child: “But mum, I don’t have one.”
Mother: “Asked and answered.”
Child: “You never get me anything.”
Mother: “Asked and answered.”
If the child keeps at it, you become a robot, saying the same three most blissful words over and over and over again.
2. “I’m done discussing this.”
Child: “Can Ashlyn spend the night?”
Mother: “No, she just spent the night here last week.”
Mother: “I’m not discussing this again.”
Child: “But …”
Then, from the mother, all action, no words. Smile pleasantly, tilt your head to the right, give the best devil eyes you can, and then simply walk away.
3. “This conversation is over.”
Child: “Can I ride my bike?”
Mother: “No, it’s raining outside.”
Child: “But I’ll wear my rain coat and it’s only sprinkling.”
Mother: “This conversation is over.”
Child: “But pleeeasssee?”
Mother: “Asked and answered.”
Become your usual robotic self. Remember, you’re a rock.
4. “Don’t bring it up again.”
Child: “I want these shoes.”
Mother: “No, those cost too much.”
Child: “But I don’t like those.”
Mother: “You’re getting the shoes in the cart and that’s final. Don’t bring it up again.”
Child: “I need them!”
Mother: “You brought it up again. There went your dessert for tonight.”
Yes, you’re going to get more crying with that response, but remember: getting your child to understand you mean business is a marathon, not a sprint.
5. “The decision has been made. If you ask again there will be a consequence.”
Child: “Can I watch the iPad?”
Mother: “No, you know you’re not allowed having technology at the table.”
Child: “I won’t get food on it.”
Mother: “The decision has been made. If you ask again there will be a consequence.”
Child: “But I promise!”
Mother: “I told you not to bring it up again. No iPad for the rest of the day.”
Prepare for a few tantrums until your child learns they’re not going to get anywhere. This is part of their normal testing stage.
Your child will eventually realise nothing changes your mind. This is how you will earn your child’s respect and set up a relationship where your child accepts your decisions the first time.
Don’t forget: their best friend, Timeout, is only a few short steps away.
Here’s a success story: After years of using these phrases with my four-year-old, I’m reaping the benefits everyday with no tears or fighting back.
Here’s the conversation I had with my daughter, Charlotte, while writing this article.
Charlotte: “Can I have a cookie?”
Me: “Yes, you may have one.”
Charlotte: “Can I have three?”
Me: “This conversation is over.”
Charlotte: “OK, I’ll just break it in half so I can have two.”
Sure, I see some passive-aggressiveness in that last comment, but I still won the battle. She happily ate her one cookie and I happily continued typing at my computer.
You can have these blissful conversations, too. Laminate a card or start memorising, but trust me, they’re almost better than chocolate.
“Taking your young child to a big event, theme park, or other busy location?”
Summer is upon us, and many parents will be taking their children to outdoor events and attractions with large crowds, like theme parks, local festivals, zoos and carnivals.
A California police department offered some advice for parents who want to be prepared in the event of a separation. Last week the Clovis Police Department posted a special “#TipOfTheDay” on Facebook for parents with young kids.
“Taking your young child to a big event, theme park, or other busy location?” begins the post. “Write your phone number on their wrist and cover it with liquid band aid in case you get separated.”
The post — which features instructional images from mom and blogger Cherise McClimans — also advises parents to “take a photo of them using your cell phone the morning of the event so you have their clothing, hair style, and up to date photo. #BePrepared.”
According to the Clovis Police Department, this advice is a repost of a #TipOfTheDay they shared back in September in anticipation of a local festival. With over 7,000 shares, the post was “one of our most popular ever,” they explained. “[S]o we decided to post again!”
This repost has reached over 10,000 shares and 3,000 likes.
While it’s hard to anticipate the unthinkable, it’s clear that this attitude of preparedness has resonated with many parents. And of course, taking such measures does not mean families should forgo vigilance in large crowds.