“Mom, I NEED more milk,” my four-year-old yells from the table.
Where did this child learn to speak like this? Often I can blame their speech habits on myself or my husband. I’ll chalk this one up to sin nature.
“MMMMOOOOMM. Where’s my milk?”
I concentrate through the bubbles of the dish soap and scrub harder at the dried egg. I will not ruin this moment by laughing. She is just so cute when she is angry. But some day, that cuteness will fad. Now is a teachable moment.
“MMMOOOOMM. Are you listening?”
” I can hear you…”
“I NEED more milk.”
I scrubbed more. I used to get mad. How dare my daughter speak to me in such a voice. And I would raise my voice and narrow my eyes and give an old fashioned, strike-terror- in- her- heart lecture on respect. To my 3-year-old. Then I saw her imitate me to stuffed animals. I praised God for the lesson while she was still young, asked my young girl, who really didn’t understand, for forgiveness and adopted the re-do plan. If I have a plan for misbehavior, I don’t usually lose control of my emotions because I know what to do. In this case, the plan for 3-year-old disrespect was to simply ignore her until she spoke with the proper words and tone. I had trained her. I like to use “talking” stuffed animals to role play kind and respectful interaction. She loved it.
I heard shuffling as Bird grabbed her cup, and shuffled into the kitchen. She smiled sweetly, aware of her guilt, “Mom, can I please have more milk?”
“Of course, dear.”
With re-dos, sometimes I don’t respond to rude behavior. Sometimes I say simply, “Try again.” With issues, like sibling fights (the hose seems to create a disproportionate amount of fighting) , I make both girls redo entire dialogues. Re-dos tend to be effective because I stay calm and the girls have to practice kindness and gentleness and self control rather than just apologize for mistakes. They are effective as soon as your little one can understand what is going on until …..I’m not sure. My girls are 9 and 11 and I still use this technique. I don’t foresee an age where a re-do won’t be appropriate in some context.
Joining Kristin at We Are THAT Family for Works for Me Wednesday.