Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pride Goes Before the Fall

My friend Essie, The Accidental Mommy just posted about her "best" parenting ideas from her life before children. And then she invited readers to do the same. So, here goes.

I ALWAYS wanted to be a Mom, and I ALWAYS wanted gobs and gobs of kids. I was the town babysitter for almost all of Daggett and Stephenson, thriving metropolises of the UP. I taught preschool for 9 years before actually becoming a mom. I attended - and even facilitated - teacher and parent training sessions. I had plenty of experience in how to handle children.

So, with all that under my belt, of course I had all the skills necessary to get my own children to obey me. I had perfected the use of the "I" message: "Jimmy, I feel concerned when you use that flame-thrower in school." I could identify the "goals of misbehavior": attention-seeking, revenge, struggle for power, feelings of helplessness, and the 5th, less-well-known goal, which is simply to be a PITA.

And as you would guess, all that training and experience came crashing down the first time my first child defied me. I had not a clue what to do. Hence, I have succeeded in getting my children to throw tantrums in public, to speak in an obscenely disprespectful manner to me, and to leave major portions of our home in a maelstrom.

However, I do believe I have discovered a way to actually speak to my children and direct them in such a way that they will obey! Please try some of these in your own home and give me your feedback. I'm considering writing a book on this revolutionary method.

First, a few things to remember: You must give children clear and comprehensible direction. You must also make sure that what you are asking of them is well within their capabilities.

Here are some examples, which I believe you can modify and use in your own parenting endeavors:

"Timmy, I would feel very happy if you would jump rope in the living room. And please do it as close as possible to the lamp, because picking up the broken shards of glass will make me even more happy."

"Sally, please go outside, without any clothes on, in the rain, and paste mud over your entire body. When you have done that, please come back inside and crawl upstairs to the bathtub and please make sure that you grind some globs of mud into the carpet."

"Ronny, would you please eat a whole bag of cheetos, 7 chocolate chip cookies, and 2 1/2 bags of Skittles before dinner? And if you throw up, would you please try to make it to the toilet?"

You see, what we really need to do is set our children up for success by asking them to do what we know they are fully able to do.

How hard is that?


  1. Bwaaaah ha ha, set them up for success! I love it! Love your post title too.
    With Teena I was totally able to tell her what TO do, instead of what NOT to do. You know, like, "we eat food with our mouths honey" instead of "NO BITING THE CAT"! Of course, it was way easy when she could not A. Talk, or B. crawl/walk/run away.
    Ahh, the good ol' days!

  2. You are clearly a child rearing genius!!! I am feeling pretty great myself right now as well because I think I have already gotten my children to do all three of the named suggestions. A variation on the mud I have accomplished in my home, is having a naked child (ahem...Keats) cover himself in foundation makeup. And I have the pictures to prove it.

  3. I was laughing at your post and now at Ginny's response! I guess I am lucky; my children have always been pretty risk-adverse. I should be thanking my lucky stars that nothing remotely like any of your suggestions ever entered anyone's mind.

  4. It's all about reasonable expectations, right? ;)


If you leave a comment, you will make me the happiest blogger in blogdom!