I don't think I really have any order to my parenting secrets. And actually, I'm sure my secrets aren't really secrets. Parents that have all gone through these same things are nodding their heads saying, yes, yes, yes when I am blogging about the things I am experiencing as a parent. But since I didn't get a manual with my children when I had them, this is becoming my manual. Albeit after the fact.
So this secret is all about manipulating kids to do what you want. Because it is never as easy as just asking them to go put on their black leggings and pink shirt. I mean, if you do that, undoubtedly they will refuse to put on their black leggings and pink shirt. Instead they will come out in a sundress (when it is 36 degrees out).
I owe this success of this secret to my husband as he learned it before me. Sam is stubborn as a mule just like me and simply will not be told what to do. However, being bossy the parent, I refuse to allow my child to dictate how things will go around here. Instead, what tends to happen is she digs in her heels, and I dig in my heels, and we battle head to head, sometimes for an hour or more, and we typically both wind up screaming at each other. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I don't. It is not ideal.
My husband, saint that he is, learned that when he wants the girls to do something or wear something he presents the option he DOESN'T want them to take first, then gives them the option he wants them to take next. See, that psychology degree has paid off for him too! Something about the order in which they hear their options plays into their mindset about what they want to do.
Here is how it works:
ME: Sam, you can wear this dress today. Or you can wear these black leggings and this super cute pink shirt.
SAM: The leggings!!
SAM: The dress AND the leggings!
Which is ok too. Because it means at least she is complying with what I really wanted to start with, which was warm clothing. But this concept works in more than just what I want her to wear. I do this with everything. Do you want to play in the toy room or play outside? Do you want to play a game or do you want to color?
Yes people, Not So Divine Secret #18 is that not only can children be manipulated, but they are manipulating you as well. You just have to be the smarter one. And sometimes, you just have to be the stronger willed one. As soon as you let them out-manipulate you, you have lost not only the little battle but probably the bigger one as well.