giving the kids my choices

>> Saturday, January 31, 2009

Many times, my kids act out.  This is kind of ironic as I spend a lot of my offline job helping adults deal with kids’ behavior problems.  Maybe I was just asking for it when I decided to have kids.

I have found the refusals get to me the most.  I mean, I don’t ask for anything unreasonable, but boy you’d think I asked them to sit still or something the way they refuse, delay or dramatize the request.  There are also excuses.   A lot of excuses.

 For example,

  • "I”ll do it later"-maybe that’s what I should’ve thought about having kids
  • "I can’t do it because daddy said so" (my personal fav)  well guess what, kid, daddy’s not here!
  • "But my brother doesn’t have to do it." OMG, he’s an infant!
  • "Why do I have to?"  Because I said so
  • "Can’t I just be here?"  You will still be here while you do it
  • "But I want a treat first."  Treat?  Treat?  How about an onion?
  • "YOU do it!"  This one, I can’t respond to without becoming very toxic, so I ignore it


I have found it works best to give the kids choices in these trying times

  • For example, you do it now or I’ll do it now while you are in timeout.
  • Since daddy wants what I want, either do it, or I’ll do it….
  • With the two and three year old, it probably works best to take advantage of the “I do it myself” syndrome, by giving the little darlings a choice to do it or mommy does it.
  • With the older child, the choice is usually understood, and since I don’t respond to refusals, I just count them for a timeout.
  • When kids are school age, timeouts may still work, but so will charging them off their allowance.
In sum, I have found a new way to be in control while my kids think they get the last word.  I give them two choices--both of which are fine by me--but they don't have to know that.