Ain't Too Proud to Beg (2): A Parent's Response

In the blog post from earlier this week, I address the similarities between the way my daughter attempts to get her desires met and the way that many of us go before the Lord for requests.
Her strategies I mentioned were as follows:

    Pout/Shout
    Manipulation
    Take It
    But You Said

See full post here
There was a reader who inquired about how to counter each strategy. In today’s post we will look at how I as a parent would counter each strategy. I don’t pretend to be a parenting expert, so if you have ideas that you’ve found successful or just want to share, please comment below the post.

For each of the following strategies, let’s assume that Leila is trying to get a cookie.

  • Pout/Shout: In order to get the cookie, let’s assume that she has began pouting or shouting at the top of her lungs. She is deciding to express her desire for the cookie by essentially punishing me.

Reaction: I might choose to ignore the tactic. I might decide to give her attempt no power by acting as though her behavior never occurred. The up side to this is I feel it simply shows her that this isn’t having her desired negative impact on me.

Reaction 2: I might also decide to respond with an explanation of the obvious nature of her attempt and that it will not work in getting her desired end result of getting the cookie. This reaction is the one that I most consistently employ now as she has grown older. I also couple this with a directive to stop the pouting and shouting.

  • Manipulation or Take It: These strategies are different because one has Leila attempting to deceive through trickery and the other is flat out disobedient and in my face disrespectful. My reaction to them will be lumped together simply because as they are both rooted in dishonesty and I respond to both levels of dishonesty the same.

Reaction: Currently, I would make it clear to Leila that I have detected her dishonest attempt to get the cookie, by theft of deceit. I will inform her that due to the way that she went about trying to receive the cookie, she has now guaranteed that she will not receive it, but that she
will in turn receive a negative consequence. Lately this has been a loss of certain privileges like use of my iPad, playing outside with friends, or bedtime story.

  • “But You Said:” This, the most successful of strategies, is when she appeals to my desire to fulfill a promise. It is rare when this strategy fails her. She simply reminds me of the fact that I promised her the cookie.

Reaction: I often will break my back to see to it that I do what I said I would. Following through on promises, positive or negative, is such a huge part of parenthood, but also the most difficult sometimes.

To visually reinforce Leila’s appropriate behavior and attempt to mold her responses to life, my wife created this chart.

Behavior Chart (Shown Above)
Tracks her day in four categories: 1. Listening, 2. Attitude, 3. Chores, and 4. Homework. If she is successful in those areas she receives a reward of the day. It also identifies her reward for a successful week. A successful week is identified by a week where she receives her reward of the day at least 5 of 7 days.

I know that there are many faults in my parenthood and so much I could learn from so many of you. Please let me know about how you have and would respond to a child in each of these circumstances.

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