Parenting Hack #2

expert-tips-on-child-anger_364x200_107668795#2 Decide what you will do:  This can also be called “be prepared, like a Boy/Girl Scout” ! Okay, a story from my own parenting, just to let you know I am real.  My daughter loved shoes.  Loved, loved, loved, loved them (still does; now she can buy her own shoes).  We went to the local shoe store, needing shoes, and looking forward to the full-service of this old-fashioned Boone institution.  Knowing the pitfalls of shopping with a shoe-loving 3 year old, I told her: “We are only buying one pair of shoes, okay?” (Well, there is that asking thing; I shouldn’t have asked!  See “Parenting Hack” #1)  She agreed, and we had a lovely time trying on shoes.  My secret weapon: I had decided that, if she balked at the “only one” rule, we would just leave.  Right then.  No talking; no choices.  I knew that there was at least a 20% chance that that day, or that issue, would be a great one for a science experiment called ” Does Mommy mean it?”

She picked a pair, and then another one.  I reminded her: one.  She proceeded to explode, melt down, erupt, whatever verb you like.  The nice sales ladies all said : “Awww, poor little thing!” (They must have meant me!)

So I said, sadly: “Now we have to leave.”  We left, no shoes.  She was under my arm in what I call the “football” or “sack of potatoes” hold.  Screaming and kicking (the “sack of potatoes” minimizes being kicked).  I didn’t say a thing (no one likes to be “I-told-you-so-ed”).  The bad news was that we had to do it all again.  The good news is that she was very impressed that I seemed to mean what I said.  The next time went better.

It makes ME feel better/safer/less crazy/less afraid of my own reaction if I know what I will do(or what I will NOT do).  Perhaps because I am not second-guessing myself, I am more likely to empathize, and less likely to be angry or react in ways that will do damage to our relationship.

Something Julie quotes is that it “lets us see our child as our beloved, instead of the enemy”!

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