Saturday, June 14, 2008

The 'I Don't Care' Routine

As parents, we've all been there.

You want your kid to get into the bathtub, so you mockingly put your hands on your hips, tilt your head to the side and say, "Whatever you do, don't get into that bathtub!" And then, 9 times out of 10, your kids, the independent stinkers that they are, will dive right in.

So it goes with food.

If your kid is wise to the "Whatever you do, don't..." routine, take note of this tactic. I title it, the I-Don't-Care routine. In my opinion, it's even more powerful.

Take note.

Kid: I'm not going to eat my peas.
You: Good, because I was hoping you wouldn't. (It is important to NOT make eye contact, keep your voice monotone, and throw in a good shoulder shrug)

In my experience, kids are totally bewildered by this statement. The same kid who can stand his ground against the "Whatever you do, don't..." routine will be confused by this complete lack of sensitivity. He won't really know how to take it, and in effort to figure you out will repeat his obstinate decree...

Kid: I SAID I'm not going to eat my peas.
You: At this point, dragging the back of your hand across your forehead with a giant sigh of relief is very effective.

What will eventually happen? The first few times, nothing. No peas will be eaten. What you've done, though, is mystified the peas. The wheels in those little heads will not rest until they've figured out WHY you don't want them to eat the peas. When they ask, when they show interest in why, that's when you lower the bomb. Again, take note.

Kid: Why don't you want me to eat my peas?
You: Because they make you run faster and quite frankly, I like it better when I can catch up to you.

You've accomplished two impossibles here. More than likely, he will teach you a lesson and eat those darn peas, and also he now knows that peas make him strong.

He'll also get to move a veggie magnet on his SuperNoots chart, and with that visual serving as a reminder, he will start the process of thinking he's a veggie eater.

Now, of course this will not work for every kid. There are those stinkers out there who have mastered the "Whatever you do, don't" routine, the "I don't care" routine, and have even moved on to the "All your friends are doing it, why don't you?" routine (I don't really endorse this one).

For those of you still on levels 1 and 2 of parental persuasion tactics, give this one a try and let me know how it goes! L


Yvie said...

I noticed how "don't" don't work in different aspects of our lives. But then again, it's just me. :) I am not using this word anymore as I try my best to creatively use another word or nonetheless, talk less.

This has been a really really tricky topic and situation to talk about.


Philyra said...

Good words.