Thursday, April 29, 2010


Anyone can tell you, and everyone will tell you, that attempting to reason with a small child is a lost cause, a road to madness.

Except it's not true.

So far, my findings (based on a sample size of one child) are that as early as 18 months, explaining the logic behind parental decisions does make a difference. Not that it always gains compliance or averts a tantrum, but at least half the time it helps. And it probably makes me a better parent - if I'm focused on explaining why we need to brush our teeth, it keeps me calmer than the escalating cycle of "say aahh, please... open your mouth... open your mouth now... DAMMIT KID OPEN YOUR MOUTH!" Also, if I can't explain my reasons, sometimes it's because there's no good reason to be found.

I have a feeling that this approach to parenting will yield an amusing/maddening echo in another year or two, when she can turn it around and give me logical reasons for doing what she wants rather than what I want her to do. If she learns to out-logic me, I'll be in trouble.

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