Monday, September 03, 2007
Had the recent misfortune of spending time with parents who’s kids direct them on a daily basis. Telling them what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Demanding where to go and for how long. And worse of all protesting with temper tantrums when they don’t get what they want.
At the end of the day I looked at these two people (absolutely exhausted)… and couldn’t help but thinking – what the fuck are you doing?
The day starts off with a question to an avg age of 5 – what do you want for breakfast. Right there, the tone is set. What do they think their kids are going to say? Whole wheat toast with honey, 3 orange slices and one omega 3 enriched egg sunny side up?
No. they are going to ask for a bowl of sugar covered in chocolate and when you don’t deliver, the debate starts.
Every debated with a 5 year old? A) it makes no sense because they don’t have a basis of reference for arguing and B) you will not win. Instead, the better approach would be something like would you like cottage cheese and cereal or scrambled eggs and toast. This way, they are still in on the decision making process and you achieve the result you are after as well.
For every negative action, there should be an unpleasant reaction and the opposite for good. Our job as parents isn’t to negotiate and facilitate friendships with our 5 year olds, it is to lead them to the desired response which will empower them towards better decision making in the future.
Each time our children wail and we entertain coddling that wail, we give them every reason to continue to wail. Which they will. And then we reach the point of no return and wonder why? I’ll tell you why and my name isn’t doctor phil. You enable them to be little assholes. So they will.
Conversely, if you enable them to be well mannered, pleasant, confident individuals…. They will likely meet that challenge too.
Time to raise the bar folks. Right now!