So you are ready to step out – the little girl who had just gained independence wears a green pearl necklace on a Magenta colored dress, with her favourite white laced ribbon, and gum boots in a hot summer afternoon. Shows you off with a ‘Im ready’ grin. The little boy who had just seen the movie #URI inspired by the Army outfit, want to wear only the Army T shirt to the park which he has been wearing over and over for a week now, he finds that the T in the wash and goes complete berserk with the only choices left to wear.
As a mother, most of us relate to these little episodes in our life, which sometimes fills us with amazement, sometimes leaves us angry and frustrated with the child’s behaviour. No matter what we say, politely either bending down on our knees, OR by shutting them up saying this is the only choice you have – Wear it or your outing’s gonna cancel. Nothing’s work so easily in such sceanrio’s and negotiations. The child keeps sulking with whatever decision someone else had made for them.
Sometimes it could be a dress, a toy, a food which they aren’t allowed to eat, or a youtube video – as a parent we all get into some kind of negotiation with the child atleast once a day! It could be a bit frustrating at times especially when you are bogged down with work, we either give up on the inappropriate choices they have made or shut them down if the choice itself isn’t available.
So when this happens in my household, I now consciously get involved in this to help me and the child solve this in a way that works for both of us.
Either Shut Them Down – I tell you wear only this or the park is cancelled today with a little threat in my voice. So the child cries and cries and gives up on his favourite thing and gets ready. The child is being told your opinion has no say and things will be decided for you by adults.
Or bribe them
I will give you a candy for not crying and wearing what I have selected for you. The child is being told, you will get what you want, just don’t think much.
Or help them to choose
OK the Army T isn’t available to wear, but you have some amazing choices 1.batman, 2, superman ., Lego 4. PJ Masks 5, plain summery T shirt (just jazzed it up a bit) – Pick any one of this and let’s not waste fun time by crying over this. Believe me it won’t be easy to convince. Give the child few options and walk away from the room, give him some time to think and make a decision. So in few minutes, the fiasco which lasted for more than 45 mins ended and the child walked away happily with a sense of achievement. Here is the child is being told, your opinion has a say, unfortunately the plan A didn’t work so please work on a plan B which would make you happy too!
Having the child make decisions early in their life like a simple choice of food, toy, dress by putting forward the options on hand, helps them in long run with decision making, kicks in early independence and help them develop their self-esteem as their choices have been respected and given a nod and nobody had disregarded their decisions!
Varsha Joshi, writer, runs Awesome place funzones which is a Birthday party Venue too located at various locations in Bangalore.