You know how Superman wears a disguise, as the ordinary Clark Kent?
Yesterday I saw Superman in another disguise – as a 3 year old boy!
I was in a department store, in a very long queue of people, waiting to make our purchases. Ahead of me was a Mum, with her 3 year old son (aka Superman). She had a large purchase, with a few smaller items sitting on top and was pushing it along in the line. Superman was looking at all the items which shops insist on putting just at children’s eye level – lollies, chocolates, drinks and small items. He picked various ones up and carefully replaced them.
Then, waiting in a long line became less appealing for him, and he started playing a game with the soft drink bottles – pushing them over, one at a time. Mum noticed and asked him to stop. He promptly decided to ignore her, and pushed another couple over. At this point Mum said: “If you don’t stop that, you can’t have this toy” (the one about to be purchased). He continued pushing them over, and she said: “Okay, no toy.” At this point Superman had a mini-tantrum, which stopped quickly when no-one took any notice. Great work Mum!
However, things changed when Mum got to the check out. She turned to him and asked if he wanted the toy. Guess what? – he did! Superman (the 3 year old) won again!
We all know that Superman possesses extraordinary powers. This little Superman used his powers to play a game with Mum, knowing that regardless of what she said she was going to do, that he would ultimately win, because she always gave in to him.
Clearly this has happened before, and the child knows not to take any notice, because the words don’t mean a thing! It’s your actions which count.
How many times have you said / warned: ‘If you do xyz I will…… ‘ or ‘If you don’t stop doing xyz, then I will …. ?’ Did you stick with it, or was it just a token threat?
As a classroom teacher and a parent, I quickly learnt that consistency is the way to go. When I didn’t stick to what I’d said, the kids would either ignore the rule, or challenge me on it : … “But you let us do it last time…”
Never state anything which you are not prepared to do eg if you say: “If you don’t stop that, I’ll put the toy in the bin” – the $129 toy which you know you wouldn’t really throw out!
Be a Mum or Dad of honour – say what you mean and then do it!
This teaches the child that you are reliable and can be trusted.
Happy ‘calm and consistent’ Parenting this week!
Image by EricM via Flickr