Friday, August 24, 2012

It's Not a Question

With my first child I read loads of parenting books. What I learned is that there is no normal and the books often just made me feel as if I were always falling short. So I rarely read parenting books now--except maybe ones that validate the choices I've already made.

But during a recent wait at the doctor's office I read an article about mistakes that almost every parent makes. One tip in particular made sense to me. And I went home and forgot what it was until I made said mistake.

The mistake is to form requests as questions for your children. "Will you put your dishes away?" makes them think they have an option. Simply ditch the question mark and poise it as: "Put your dishes away, please." It will take the time to make the switch, but it's something I'm working on now.

I realized why I ask instead of tell. I would never tell my husband to do anything. I always poise it as a question: will you? can you? would you? But it's different with my kids. I do get to tell them what to do. With kindness, of course. But when I need them to do something, it's not optional. (My husband inherently knows that, my daughter does not.)

Another mistake parents make is to act as if small mishaps are a big deal. Which teaches your child to also freak out over small things. (Speaking of which, my daughter has now picked up the word "freaking" from me--which she uses when she's frustrated. Oh joy.) Definitely something I need to work on, but that's another very long story.

What simple "mistake" have you changed in your parenting that has made a difference in your daily life?

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I didn't realize you had this blog - it is lovely. We think similarly about a lot of parenting things (and I suspect other things as well).

    I have found that with a second child I am overreacting to small things with Lucy more and more and I need to follow the advice of letting small mishaps be just that - small.