I recently attended a parent education class called, "Ages and Stages," and wanted to share something I learned.
Sharon Lee, the Student Support Coordinator at my daughters' school, shared a piece of parenting advice that can best be described as parenting semantics. This really resonated with me, because estrogen runs rampant in my household, and sometimes my agenda and that of my three daughters don't always align.
Imagine this: I've rushed home from work and somehow managed to get dinner on the table, and I call out, "Girls - dinner's ready!" They immediately yell out to me, "Not now! I'm finishing my drawing!" I already feel tired, but now I'm irritated and feeling rather unappreciated and want to scream out, "Get your asses down here for dinner." Have I ever done this? No, but I have shouted back, "Dinner, NOW!" Now imagine the alternate response to the exact same scenario: I calmly walk over to my girls as they're finishing said drawing and turn this into a teachable moment. Girls, could you try this instead, "Mom, MAY I finish my drawing first? I'm almost done." Now to that I would've said, "Of course girls, but keep in mind that dinner's getting cold."
Teaching my girls to speak politely and simply ask permission will pay off during the teen years, for sure. Fast-forward to when my daughter has turned 16 and is taking the car out with her friends. I say to her, "Have fun, but be home by 10." If I continue along the path of the first scenario, my daughter is likely to say, "But I have to drop Audrey and Joshua off first." Instead, I can make the effort now, teach my girls proper semantics, and hope she'll respond with, "Would it be okay if I'm a few minutes late? I have to drop Audrey and Joshua off after the party."
Parenting is all about the little things isn't it?
* Thank you Caroline, for the beautiful photo of me and the girls!