My kids are all of 6 and 8 now and I keep reminding myself that their memories are all keepers. What happens matters, not subconsciously but in their permanent file. I’m taking a parenting class through our local children’s hospital Mental Health division and it’s helping me be the kind of parent I want my children to remember. None of it is rocket science, except for ignoring bad behaviour. You need a PhD in neurology to re-wire your brain not to react to constant pleading, begging and whining.
We practiced at the drugstore. Justin asked for a toy while we were parking. I said, “Money is tight these days, so the answer is no tonight.” I try not to say no actually because thems are fightin’ words. But, tonight I meant it. No will-sees, maybes or if-you’re-goods. Just, plain, NO.
He started begging. I ignored him. He threatened to not get out of the car unless I said yes. I ignored him. He pleaded his case over and over, I walked on. He stopped. I encouraged him to look at all the neat stuff in the store while I checked my blood pressure. He did.
He started again. I ignored him. I needed food and chose a bag of bbq chips. He didn’t like that kind. I offered him any other kind on the shelf. He decided he wanted candy instead. He chose gummy candy. I said they were not ok. He chose chocolate. I said he had to share with his brother. He wanted a drink. I said one or the other. He stuck with the candy.
We listened to every talking card on the rack. He picked out one for Father’s Day. We sat and waited for my prescription. He started again. I ignored him. He said, “You’re eating those chips and you didn’t even pay!” I ignored him. The Pharmacist snickered. We paid for everything and left.
It would have been easier and cheaper to let him pick a toy from the dollar bin, but it’s the principle. I did it! We went to the store and his whining didn’t net him a toy that would be discarded in the backseat and, I didn’t lose my temper.
Guess what? He still loves me and shared his candy with his brother.
He better remember that…it was a tough night for me.