Friday, August 04, 2006

How To Argue With Your Children

First, don't expect to win. If you make it about winning vs losing, then one of you ends up being The Bad Guy. When you're The Mom, being The Bad Guy sucks donkey balls. You're suddenly the worst parent on the planet. When you're The Child, being The Bad Guy is a chance to make The Mom feel like dookie. But no matter what, do not give The Child ammunition to hurl at you.

Imagine this.

Pan to The Child, age 6, playing and drawing and generally being a PITA to her sisters.

Scene change: The Child decides to disobey The Mom. It doesn't matter what she did, only that The Mom made her sit in The Time Out Spot on the stairs. For five entire minutes.

Close up of The Child, in her ragtag outfit and tangled hair, sobbing on the steps.

The Child: "No one loves me! I'm the worst child in the WHOLE WORLD."
The Mom: "Well, I wouldn't go that far."
The Child: "But I AM! I'm evil! No one loves me! I'm all aloooooonnnne! I'm so bad I shouldn't even go to school! I have no FRIENDS and my sisters don't LOVE me and I'm in tiiiime ooouuuut forever!"
The Mom: sarcastically "Oh yes, you're so unlovable. You're in time out for five minutes, you're not in jail."
The Child: Not picking up on said sarcasm "I'm UNLOVABLE! Oh, waaah waaah" etc etc etc.
The Mom: "You know I love you, you just need a time out. Think about what you did and why and then we'll talk."
The Child: "I was BAD! I'm just UNLOVABLE and I NEED A TIME OUT FOREVER!"
The Mom: "Well, forever is a bit long. You've got 3 minutes left."
The Child: Fake-crying badly "The time out is forever!" Continues to fake cry, badly.
The Mom: "Time out is over, Love. You can go back to being happy again."
The Child: "NO! I'm in a time OUT. I need a time OUT. I'm stuck here FOREVER because I WAS BAD!"
The Mom: "Fine, as long as I don't trip over you on the way to bed."

This past week: I argued with my 3 1/2 year old about whether or not we had bandaids. She used them all up a couple of days ago, but didn't believe me. I actually had that argument about seven times every day.

I argued with my 17 month old about whether or not she needed a shower one night. She screamed the entire shower (I get in there with her and her sisters, then let them play in a clean filled tub while I dry off) calling "Man-NEEE" for her daddy to get her. He was at work. She was pissed.

I argued with my 3 1/2 yr old over how many marshmallows was enough to eat.

I argued with my almost-6 yr old over what would go into the tortellini soup we had for dinner. She didn't want tortellini or zucchini in her soup. Only sausage and tomatoes.

Thankfully, even though The Mom wasn't keeping track, she won all of the arguments. ;-)

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