Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shiny things

I usually think of the silent treatment as a bad thing. Couples are never supposed to go to bed angry. It makes for unresolved feelings and unhappy marriages. But it's a bit different when it comes to your little kids.

This morning, I figured out why danger girl has been so insistent on calling a classmate for the last two days. She invited the classmate over for a playdate Saturday--without permission. What she didn't know until Sunday, was she's attending another friend's birthday party! So instead of calling her friend to cancel the playdate she hadn't cleared with me, she asked the birthday girl if her friend could come along! She's a thinker, isn't she? Of course birthday girl said yes without speaking to her mom, either.

Thankfully, we moms are able to intercept things likes this and teach our children proper manners.

First, clear all playdates with mom. Second, you do not get to invite a guest unless the invite says "plus one" and you're probably not going to get a plus one until you're much older.

Danger girl was quite livid with me. She doesn't get loud when she gets mad. She gives the stink eye. And when that doesn't work, she turns on the tears. She just sobs quietly to herself. When that fails, then she begs. Please mama, please! she said it was ok! Just ask her mama! pleassseeeeeee. Failed, move on. Now...now we come to the blessed silent treatment. Danger girl is one you always HEAR before you see. So the silent treatment is something I look forward to. I get peace and quiet from her (with a sullen attitude, but I practically have a teenager so that doesn't even phase me).

I am pretty sure she's going to start up with things as soon as she gets home from school. She doesn't let go easily once she sinks her teeth in to something. That means I get to pull something else from my parenting bag of tricks...something shiny. Something shiny is usually a craft project. We'll put our efforts in to making something for the birthday girl, like a card and hopefully she'll completely forget why she was giving me the silent treatment and will focus on why she's so excited to give a card.

The shiny trick works on big kids, too, to some extent. It's a matter of finding that one thing that always distracts them and using it to your advantage. With Leelee I dangle "spa time" in front of her. "Go think about it while you soak in the tub and do your nails" and nine times out of ten she comes back a normal human being.

The almost teenager is still distracted by legos...and food. But any disagreement with him can usually be solved by google. It's usually fact based, not emotional.

Ben still benefits from a good old fashioned "take a time out" in the sports sense. I have always tried to use time out this way. Not as a punishment, but telling the kids "go take a break and come back when you're ready to get back in the game."

Time to cool off benefits everyone.

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