Give kids an inch and they’ll travel about a billion miles.
This is what goes on in a child’s mind, for example, when you issue a “five minutes to go” warning: “I’m counting on this git to lose track of time.”
When it’s time to go, they already have a simple but effective follow-up plan in place: “I’ll look up with my long eyelashes and hopeful smile and you’re going to lose this fight, honey.”
At this crucial moment, it’s important to stay strong no matter how rude they are in making their demands. If you don’t, expect later attempts at negotiations that will turn the playground or game date into the United Nations.
“Five more minutes” is also kid code for: “I’ll get more computer time if it kills me” and “Let’s see if I can break the bedtime barrier tonight”. Such shenanigans often begin with seemingly logical standbys: “You said we could last time” or “I’m almost done”. Don’t fall for it.
Also say no, if a child ever asks to draw cat whiskers on your face with erasable markers (because it comes off easily with soap and water, you think), say no. Don’t hesitate because when you do, your face will be completely covered in ink and you’ll look so scary that the family dog won’t come near you.
The other day I let a kid light up the classroom for an exciting glow-in-the-dark experiment with race cars. The next thing you know, lights are flickering and everyone is screaming in fear of a great apocalypse.
Another time, after I’d played a tag game long enough to possibly pass out, several ruthless young delinquents asked me to play a little longer (maybe until I needed an ambulance).
The point is that children will always take advantage of our good nature and trusting instinct. You were indeed born with the skills necessary to do this and we must remember to be vigilant.
So if you allow them to eat in front of the TV one night, for the next five to 10 years, first expect conversations around the dinner table: “Because I said so, not this time and maybe when you’re 30.”
But when they finish eating and apologize, remember that it’s your turn to say, “Five minutes, just one more green bean,” or “But last time you stayed until dessert.”
Pam J. Hecht is a writer, teacher, and mother of two (but not necessarily in that order). Reach them below firstname.lastname@example.org or pamjhecht.com.
This article originally appeared in the Asheville Citizen Times: Fun thing about parenting: don’t fall for it!
Source : news.yahoo.com