By a hilarious, anonymous friend
Not surprisingly, the answer is usually FALSE.
A girl who stands in her chair while eating lunch gets a cupcake, too. Apparently.
And this is even after her mother tells her several times to sit down. Why would a child sit down when she knows very well that she is going to get the cupcake whether she sits down or not? Why would a child finish a meal if she knows she is going to get dessert whether she finishes or not? What is the point of telling your child that she must do “x” in order for “y” to occur, if “y” always occurs whether she does “x” or not?
Of course she would not sit because there was no consequence for remaining standing in her chair (which is also a safety issue, but I’ll get to that in another post). This applies to adults, too.
There is a “no right on red” sign near my house. EVERYONE turns right on red there, even, I’m ashamed to admit, me. Why not? Nothing bad happens when you do it, and it’s really convenient. But guess what? About a year ago, I got pulled over and got a $200 ticket for doing it after doing it for 5 years scot-free. Will I ever do it again? NO. Why? Because until I believed there was an actual consequence to my actions, I didn’t care what the rule was.
Consequences for Kids
The same applies to children: don’t make threats you cannot stand behind. Kids are SMART and they learn quickly. If you say, “No dessert until you finish most of your meal,” you better be ready to back up that statement or it is MEANINGLESS.
Of course, this applies to all scenarios, not just those that involve food. “Stop bothering your sister or you will not have screen time this afternoon.” “Clean up your room or you’re not going to the party this weekend.” “Put your toys away or you can’t have a friend over tomorrow.” Deliver on your threat and your children will learn to respect you and your discipline.
Years ago, I was with my son at a mommy-and-me gym class. The class rule was that no one could bring a toy or lovey with them to the class. Seems simple enough to me: toys are distracting in this particular situation. What about the kids whose parents are actually following the rules and don’t have a toy? Of course, they want the toy the rule-breaker children have. The gym is trying to avoid distractions so that the kids can pay attention to the class, have fun, and learn to follow rules.
One of the kids in the class brought his stuffed Humpty Dumpty toy [this thing was NASTY from being toted everywhere since he was born, but that’s beside the point]. His mother was well aware of the rule about not bringing toys, but she didn’t want to upset her Precious Darling (“PD”, for short). Because, my God, what would happen, if she did? Would he CRY?? And then what?? Would the sky cave in and the world would end? Surely that must be what would happen, because otherwise, why wouldn’t she be able to say no to a 2-year-old??
This was the conversation:
What do you think happened next — did Mom scoop up Precious Darling and leave because he wouldn’t put the toy away? Did she even attempt to take the toy and put it in the cubby and show him it would be there waiting for him after the class? The answer is actually so predictable, it’s sad.
She did nothing of the sort. She let him sit with the toy in the circle because it was the EASY thing for HER. Not for the teacher, the other kids, or the other parents and nannies in the class, for her. When another child spotted Humpty and tried to grab it, the teacher took Humpty, told PD he couldn’t do the class with it, and put it away. PD gave the teacher a surprised look and sat down quietly. Two minutes later, he forgot the whole thing happened.
Why would PD ever listen? If she had taken the toy from him, there is a good chance that he would have cried or even had a tantrum. And if it had lasted more than a few minutes, she should have left. Because, after all, she said, “Well then I guess we aren’t doing the class, then.” What was the point of saying that if she didn’t mean it?
And the next week she should have left Humpty in the car, or better yet, at home. And kept doing that. Week after week. Pretty soon, it wouldn’t have been an issue. Sooner than most people would think. But I guess that takes a lot more work and patience on her part. And work is hard.
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