In the February 2012 edition of Parents magazine there was an article entitled “3 Common Discipline Mistakes and How to Fix Them.” As I was reading it this passage jumped out at me:
…have Madelyn (age 5) pick up, say, 20 things while Grant (age 2) has to pick up two. If he refuses, let him save face: "Okay, Grant, you win -- you can just put one toy in the box." No go? Casually say, "Too bad, no stickers for that today. Let's try again tomorrow!"
My first – and permanent – instinct is to say “WHHHAATTTT??!! Are you serious??!!”
The author of the article, Dr. Karp, claims this is an effective long-range (one to three weeks) plan and that my “Discipline Mistake” is expecting too much too soon.
Ummm, I’m sorry but I don’t think it is expecting too much to ask my toddler to contribute to cleaning up the mess they made. For crying out loud, they sing songs about it in preschool and there are large signs all over our local Children’s Museum which claim that clean-up is a part of play.
Also, the idea that he can simply refuse to obey, to pick up one toy and I have to accept that and say “you win” is the most ludicrous idea. Right up there with telling every child they are good at everything (they will be sorely disappointed later in life when they get boo’ed off American Idol) – but that’s a topic for another day.
So I am here to confess that I am willfully, gladly and honestly making a “parenting mistake". So later in life, when my kids are the well-behaved children who know how to share, play well with each other and clean up their messes, feel free to tell me what a rotten job I did. I dare you.
Written by Sarah Kay on Monday, July 16, 2012