It’s funny how when you buy a car you start seeing it everywhere. Or when you (or your spouse) are pregnant you start noticing pregnant women everywhere.
I read an interesting quote from Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting and it opened my eyes to dealing with some of my 3 year old’s behavior.
I almost always answer his questions directly, but this may not be ideal. Apparently, it could be very beneficial for him to think up some answers on his own.
Even when we’re unwilling to give kids the last word, we can still give them the first word— that is, a chance to make their case. Thus, when children ask whether it’s okay to do something, it often makes sense to respond with “Well, what do you think?” This lets them know that their viewpoint counts, and also invites them to play an active role in considering the implications of their request.
After I read this, I noticed Mr. 3 would ask me behavior questions. Perhaps it is coincidence, but I had never really heard him do this before. I decided that he should have the chance to decide a few things.
Mr. 3: Does Blippi put his feet on the table? (Read: can I put my feet on the table ?)
Me: …What do you think?
Mr. 3: No, he doesn’t.
And he didn’t put his feet on the table, which is an improvement because when he is a baby (as opposed to a dog, a squirrel, Blippi, or anything) he and his brother tend to get in contests to see who can put their feet on the table and scream the loudest.
Mr. 3: *giggles while reaching into the toilet a little* Does Blippi touch the toilet water?
Me: (Thinking: EW you JUST peed in there!!) … What do you think?
Mr. 3: *takes hand out* No, he doesn’t.
And later he asked if Blippi sleeps with his hat on and decided that, yes, he does sleep with his hat on. This is not something worth arguing about so I agreed. He took the hat off a few minutes later because it was hot and\or itchy, but it was his choice.
By the way, it’s been over 24 hours since I yelled at my kids, and I am feeling strong!