Is it just me, or are some guys, like, one thousand percent less patient with their kids – specifically of the three-year-old variety – than their female partners in procreation?
Without sounding like an ungrateful witch (because I do, in fact, appreciate my husband who happens to be extremely patient with me….) or coming off as an all-knowing advice-giving parenting expert, I’d like to gently propose some alternative solutions to Papas everywhere who are prone to flying off the handle at the slightest roadblock.
I’ll add a disclaimer here before every man in the blogosphere attacks me for being an angry lady: I know, it’s not all of you. I know, it’s not all the time. But this is an issue and my mission is to present some practical solutions for y’all, so SHHHHHH.
OK, here we go…
Can I ask if you think it’s truly productive to argue with a tiny (irrational) human, seeing that they’re likely 30-plus-or-minus years younger than you? Also, can I ask, does it really ever get you the result you’re looking for (Ie. one that doesn’t end in tears or storming off to another level of the house)?
If not, please continue reading and hear me out.
*Also, attempt not to roll your eyes at your wife for telling you to read this. We’re here to help, bud.
When you raise your voice, or try to get your point across drill-sergeant style, it actually works against you. Your kid gets scared, defensive, and retaliates the best way they know how: in full blown tantrum mode. It’s also fair to mention, that toddlers are highly emotional and can’t quite keep their shit in check just yet; which may be the reason they frequently act like they’re going through various stages of PMS. *cue uncontrollable tears followed by evil laughter*
I get you, dude; kids can be total dicks. And they do many annoying fucking things to get a reaction out of their parents, because even negative attention, is attention. Please note: when you lose your marbles, you’re playing right into their malicious little game. Instead, don’t give them the satisfaction and be completely indifferent to the bullshit. Brush their behaviour off as absolute nonsense (since it is exactly that) and walk away. If your kid is being a particularly terrible little human being (read: hitting someone) and needs a time out, by all means, give them one… calmly.
You can still say all the things you need to say (relax, stop, enough, you need a time out, you are being a huge inconsiderate asshole right now) in a calm and low voice that will not only get your point across…. but it’ll cost you less precious time dealing with a back and forth ping-pong game of who-can-out-yell-the-other.
Spoiler alert: No-one wins.
Another thing worth thinking about is use of language. It’s easy to give into the inner rage and dive right into cursing and name calling, but do you really want to play this game? You’re only loading up the little one with ammunition to use against you (and the general public) at a later time. Plus, these little guys literally hold on to your every last word for dear life, and will remember for a long time that you called them “really bad” or “a total jerk”. Instead try, “You’re not behaving, and you need to be a good boy”.
Say the things through clenched teeth to really deliver the message home.
And since these little people are positively certain they are grown ass humans, and are now demanding to make decisions around the house, go ahead and let them make a few. You’d be surprised what a little delegation can do for your little tyrant!
The key here is making them THINK they are making a decision, when really you’re controlling the shit out of the options. Example: Would you like cereal or toast this am? (Ie: either way you’re eating). Do you want to go to the big park or playground? (Ie: either way, we’re going outside). You get the idea.
These tiny dictators want to be heard! They want to feel important and grown up, so get them involved in household chores as early as you so desire. Not only will you be making them feel super awesome about themselves, but you’ll also be teaching them priceless lessons that will hopefully last into their teens and beyond. Yes, it may be a tad more work, but when they feel satisfied, and their toddler-experience bank has been filled with empowering activities, they tend to be less shit-headesque as a whole. Plus it kills a ton of time.
Another classic tactic is the art of redirection. Anyone with a toddler can tell you, the more you say NO, the more resistance you will meet. Try rearranging the words and lessen the chance of a toddler showdown. For example: Instead of “NO! I said you can’t have candy right now!” try “Not right now, but if you finish your dinner later, you can have some. What will you pick for your dessert?” Deflecting from their original focus is a solid parenting move that never gets old.
At the end of the day, remember: You’re dealing with an actual CHILD. Yeah they can throw down when they don’t get their way, but no-one needs to drag it out in the penalty box for hours. That shit takes more energy than it’s worth and they aren’t even equipped with the right tools for a reasonable debate, so just relax yourself already.
And when all else fails, get a vaporizer and take two deep breaths before laying down the law. It’ll help you take a moment to think, and lessen the blow. For both of you.
On that note, happy parenting!
Featured photo: Elsa Peretti in Halston, via @70sbabes
*****SHOP THE REBEL MAMA*****