‘I asked you to put your toys back in their place.’
More silence. Seven minutes have passed. My blood pressure is rising.
For the last time, I am asking you to put your toys away!
Defiant look. Mutinous stance. No budging from the spot.
Then it explodes: ‘If I have to say this one more time, I am going to throw away your favourite toy right now!’
If you are a parent, you are probably familiar with the above scenario. This probably plays out in different shades at your place, though. At times, the defiance is to do with toys, at other times with clothes, sometimes with turning off the TV and many times, with their being cranky for the sake of being so!
Am I proud of what I had to say at the end? Of course not. But I am glad I could change tracks after I realised that not only was it not working, but it was probably making her scared.
Kids seem to have an uncanny knack for pushing all the wrong buttons at the worst moments. When you’re just about ready to drop from all the day’s work, that defiance kicks in from the mini-adults at home.
So, what do I do in this situation? I mean, specific to the ‘pick up your toys’ scenario:
I take a deep breath. As trite as that sounds, it really works. Walking away from the spot for a few minutes really helps.
I allot specific times of the day for cleaning up. Once in the afternoon and once at night.
I have designated her room as the ‘dumping ground’ for her toys. She is allowed to make as big a mess as she chooses, but the mess stays in her room.
I don’t repeat myself more than once. The first time, I say it in a calm tone and the second time, the voice becomes firm. Kids learn to sense these things as they grow older.
Most importantly, I get down and dirty. I join her in the task of cleaning up. It moves faster and we are both happier.
Over time, you will observe that the cleaning up happens better and under lesser supervision. In fact, over the last few months, the situation is such that she cannot sleep until she has cleaned up her room!
That came completely out of the blue one day. She walked in, looked around her room, said, ‘What a mess! No wonder I can never find anything!’ and set about putting it straight.
So, if you’re worried about that messy room, don’t be. It will set itself right all in good time.
In the meanwhile, take deep breaths, walk off the rage and clean up together.
Here, each week, we will explore an aspect of positive parenting, a tool or a technique that has helped me in my journey. If you’ve visited before, you may be familiar with my Yelling Less journal. It was a week-long challenge that I undertook in July last year. Ever since, it’s been a series of management tips for various scenarios. I owe a lot of my gratitude toThe Orange Rhino, who was the original inspiration for my journey.
Do these tips help you?
Do you have any ideas to add to the ones above?
❤❤ Feel free to share your valuable comments and suggestions.