Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"You always...blahblahblah"

It shouldn’t be a surprise when the second child goes through the behavioral stages of the first, but somehow it is.
The biggest shocker, of course, is that our unique children who have their own distinct personalities even have “behavioral stages.” Those stages are for average children, children of average parents. How dare our children conform to averages?
But there you go. Coco is three (almost four) and pokey and balky when things don’t happen as he wants, on his own time. Getting to school on time is increasingly difficult and incredibly frustrating for two reasons. First, because now he is making Madge late (potentially, though I do allow time for that), second, because I’VE ALREADY BEEN THROUGH ALL THAT BEFORE!
But he hasn’t and I realize I need to be patient. Of course it’s my fault when he puts on his shirt with the tag in front and the shirt won’t cooperate. Of course it’s my fault when something slips out of his hands or when too much juice or milk jumps out of the cup and onto his shirt.
I finally remembered some parenting “advice” I read when Madge was that age, or at least how I interpreted it: Listen to yourself as you talk to your kid. Anytime you find yourself starting a sentence with “you,” rephrase it. All your kid will hear is that he or she is bad, as a person. Even if you just rephrase it to “your behavior” or “the way you are acting,” at least that will give him or her a chance to alter it. But “you” implies that he or she is incorrigible.
I think the book recommended rephrasing it to show the kid how you feel about the thing in order to appeal to his or her desire to please you, but I’m not sure.
Regardless of the benefit the book stated, listening for relentless accusation gets some results. It’s one small way you can put yourself in your kids’ shoes.
In keeping with that advice, I haven’t spoken to Coco in three days now.


Yai Yai said...

If you really haven't spoken to him for three days, I don't know who that's a bigger gift to---- you or Coco!!! I LOVE it! Isn't it amazing how much children teach us (or try to) about being patient?

Anonymous said...

Ha! In the early 1900's there was a technique in Germany called "breaking the child's will" which was blamed by socioloogists for Hitler's later rise to dominance. The populace was just raised by the Doctor Spock of those times to obey a strong parental figure unquestioningly.

-About those arrows on my blog.. I don't know how they got there. They just came when I upgraded to the new beta blogger.