When A Threat Doesn't Have The Desired Effect...

14/08/2014 16:49 | Updated 22 May 2015

If there's one thing the geekdaddy and I both believe in wholeheartedly about bringing up our kids it's this: never threaten something that you're not prepared to follow through. Oh yes, and if you're going to fight a point, you have to win. And that's how the geekdaughter ended up wearing a bin bag instead of clothes...

The geekdaughter has reached that age where she chooses to argue over the simplest of things. It's frustrating, because she can spend much longer arguing with you about something you've asked her to do than it would take to just do the thing, whatever it is!

I think she's also suffering with end-of-term-itis – she's certainly tired after school, and we're feeling the effect of that, with more arguments than usual.

Recently she chose to make an argument about getting dressed. We'd enjoyed a lazy morning – Sunday is the only day of the week we can do that, as all other days we have to be out early, either for school during the week or her ballet lesson on Saturday mornings. So we'd not been in too much of a rush, and I hadn't pushed her to get dressed too early. However as lunchtime got closer I thought it was probably about time she put something other than her pyjamas on.

Well, she fought it. We had arguments, we had, "I want to live with someone else", we had storming off to her room, and we had tears. All from her, I hasten to add! So after I'd left her sobbing in her room for a few minutes I gritted my teeth and went up to talk to her.

I pointed out that she couldn't wear her pyjamas all day. I calmly explained that in our family we get dressed every day unless we're poorly. No dice.

Then I came up with what I thought was an inspired idea. I would offer her a choice, which is often a good way of resolving these kind of stand offs. She could get dressed, I told her, or she could wear a bin bag all day. Obviously I was hoping she'd choose the clothes.

She looked at me, slightly disbelieving. Then she giggled. Not the response I was hoping for.

"I want the bin bag Mummy".

Uh-oh. She actually wanted the bin bag option. Well, I had to follow through, didn't I? And so that's how my daughter ended up wearing a bin bag all day. She enjoyed it – she spent a lot of the day pretending to be a ghost. And when she took it off at the end of the day she asked me to put it somewhere carefully in case she wanted to wear it another day.

OK. Lesson learned. I won't threaten that one again!

Ruth Arnold is a geeky, tech-loving wife and mother of two (aged 5 and 3), trying to juggle working part time with running the home and organising the family. When she gets any spare time she likes to share tech tips and family milestones.

Blogs at: Geek Mummy

Twitter: @geekmummy


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