Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Are you willing to be embarrassed?

Sometimes a willingness to be embarrassed in public (or to let your child be) is a great tool in your parenting toolbox.  Without that tool, you are at your child's mercy.  They can black mail you with out even saying a word because they will somehow just "KNOW" that you don't want to deal with a tantrum at Target, grumpinmess at Grandma's house, or pajamas at preschool.

First, here's a hint... other parents will be far more merciful in their thoughts toward you in public than you realize.  If they have children who are at all normal... they have "been there." 

Consider these scenarios:
  1. Your 5 year old son threatens to throw a major tantrum if you don't purchase that truck in the toy aisle. Following one Love and Logic idea you have not said no to him.  Instead you have said yes to something else, "Yes, you may have that truck if you can pay for it."  Then you keep on shopping.  What if he follows you crying and screaming, "I want it?!"  Head towards the check-out.  Explain to the cashier that you will pay for your items but that you told your son that he could have the truck if he could pay for it.  You'll wait by the door.   (In one case I know of like this the little boy confronted with this dilemma ran screaming back to the toy aisle to put the truck back and proceeded loudly to the front door where the parent waited.   The next trip to the store was trouble free.  He learned that his tantrum could not control his parent.
  2. Your 4 year old daughter is dawdling and refusing to get ready for school.  You give her a choice.  "You can be ready to leave in 5 minutes or you can wear your pajamas to school."  The parent who is willing to live with the embarrassment of their daughter walking into school in their pjs is on the right track.  It might be a good idea to pull the teacher aside and explain what you are doing.  It won't do a bit of harm if the teacher asks her, "Why are you wearing your pajamas to school?"
One more hint:  Let empathy and consequences do the teaching.  There is no need for you to explain what you have done or why to your child or to lecture them in any way.  To do so, moves the child's thinking from seeing themselves as the cause of their problem to being angry at you.  Your child is smart and will figure it out.

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