I’ve discovered a wonderful way to get my children to do my bidding – I leave them alone. I don’t mean that I abandon them in the shady part of town until they’re willing to do anything to come home (although who among us hasn’t been tempted…). I mean that I tell them what they need to do and then leave.
I’m speaking mostly about getting ready for school and doing homework. These don’t sound like big challenges, but my children can make breakfast seem like one of Vi Hart’s infinite series (without the fun and cool doodles). It. Just. Doesn’t. End.
Like any sane, loving parent, I’d gently remind them (since they would often forget) why they found themselves sitting at a table with food in front of them. “Drink your milk…Drink your milk…No, DRINK your milk…your milk…drink it…drink it now!!!!!” Despite a mountain of evidence against the efficacy of these
rants reminders, I’d continue to offer them every minute or so.
By the time we’d get to the bus stop, their faces (and mine) were twitching.
The solution was to take myself out of the equation entirely. Now, as soon as I put breakfast on the table, I sprint out of the room before I can start screaming at them to finish their waffles.
My kids have never moved faster.
Ok, so maybe I should have realized sooner that giving them such a colorful reaction only rewarded their sloth-like behavior. I’ve read parenting books, so I ought to know these things. But they just move so slowly and there is so little time to get ready and why can’t she take more than just a tiny bite at a time and oh my God, move it!!
See. It’s much better with me out of the room.
Our mornings have gotten so much better that I now use the same approach with homework. They know what they need to do and where to find me if they need help. We are all better off with some distance.
This extra-special glimpse into my parenting style probably reveals more about my mental health than I’d like. It may also leave you feeling sorry for my kids. I feel sorry for them, too, sometimes.
That’s why I keep so much ice cream in the house.
So for my fellow nutty parents out there (you know who you are, even if you won’t admit it), I offer this valuable lesson in avoiding facial tics for you and your children. You’re welcome.