Schooled in Parenting (By My 8-Year-Old Daughter)

classroomThis morning while I was getting ready for the day, my kids rolled into a very intense, very passionate argument. The likes of which I’m sure haven’t been seen (or heard!) since the days of old. Or maybe last week.  Of course, this argument was about, none other than, Minecraft.  From what I can gather from my unavoidable over-hearing, my 4-year old was continually pushing random buttons on his Xbox controller while my 7 and 8-year olds were trying to build something (apparently it was a very important “something” that could not be delayed by random button pushing). I will set the scene for you:

[8-year old daughter takes command of the situation by turning a one-syllable name into dual-syllable whine]: “Saaaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaam!”
[Stern 8-year old continues]: “STOP. IT.”
[4-year old giggles]: “Tee hee hee hee.”
[sassy 8-year old sigh]: “Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
[button pushing noises]: Tck ticky Tck Tck Tck Ticky
[Ferocious beast-like bellow]: “You can’t just push buttons. You! CAN’T! Just! Push! Buttons.!
[4-year old whimper, then angry cry]: “Why?! Why are you yelling at me?!”
[very dramatic and extremely high-pitched whine]: “youcan’tjustpushbuttonsyoucan’tjustpushbuttonsyoucan’tjustpushbuttons!”
[button pushing noises]: Tck ticky Tck Tck Tck Ticky
[Momma enters living room with mascara wand in hand]: “Ooooookay. Now you’re both [uses mascara wand to point to 4 and 8-year olds] pushing MY buttons.”

(Ha! see what I did there??? buttons… pushing them. Ooooh, sometimes it’s those little moments of motherhood that make it a little extra enjoyable. None of the kids appreciated my play on words.)

The kids turned off the Xbox and went to go unload the dishwasher.  While they were slaving away in the kitchen, I heard my 4-year old say, “Why did you yell at me? Now we can’t play!” to which my daughter replied, “I was trying to TEACH you.”

I almost stepped in then, to explain to her that perhaps those weren’t the best methods of teaching her brother. Then, it hit me… I’m pretty sure I taught her those very techniques… here is where my daughter schooled ME on my parenting skills:

1. Repeating the same thing over and over is probably not very effective. 
If you want your brother to stop pushing buttons, perhaps he needs to hear the request in a different way before he’ll fully understand.  I know, without a doubt, there have been times when I have repeated the same request over and over, and then louder and louder to my kids.  “Please put your dishes away. Please put your DISHES away. pleaseputyourdishesawayPLEASEPUTYOURDISHESAWAY!” Clearly, the repeated statement was not getting the attention I needed it to receive.  Clearly, choosing another way of communicating my request would have been a better option.  Clearly, I was schooled.

2. Tone of voice MATTERS. As established in point #1, message content is important.  But after listening to my daughter sternly speak/whine/sass my son, I am so much more sure that tone of voice could be the most important part of communicating with my kids.  The tone of voice my daughter used made me cringe and NOT want to listen to her just on principle. No matter what I am saying, if I’m using an irritated/angry or bored/unintersted tone, they will hear that much more than they hear the words I’m saying (over and over again, no doubt). Schooled.

3. Expect kids to behave like kids. You want a 4-year old to NOT “just push buttons” while playing with an Xbox controller with some 15 buttons on it?! Pffffffttt.  Well, that’s just silly.  Four year olds are going to behave like four year olds.  Eight year olds like eight year olds, and probably thirty-four year olds like…. well, apparently I’ve also been behaving like an eight year old!  I’m not saying I’m going to just give up on training my kids to be respectful, responsible, and reputable people…. but I probably do need to offer them a little more room to be who they are WHEN they are. Elementary-schooled, my dear Watson.

About blogheavenstobetsy

Me... Writing my stories and sharing them with you. View all posts by blogheavenstobetsy

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