with GRANNY SMITH
WHEN the daughter and her husband were discussing child-rearing strategies, they disagreed on whether their first-born should do as he’s asked or as he’s told.
For Granny, that was a no-brainer: children should definitely do as they’re told until they develop logic, reason and common sense. For some, this might not happen until their 20s!
Apart from establishing who’s in charge (authority is difficult to conjure past the early stages yet essential for the teenage years), it gives children clear guidelines and boundaries which, surprisingly, they crave.
Entering into discussions about why they should or shouldn’t be allowed to do something can be confusing for little ones who are already overwhelmed with so many new things everyday. They need to know that Mummy and/or Daddy are steering a straight and steady course. If little people realize they have the power to rock the boat by being disobedient, who’s to say the whole thing won’t capsize?
By allowing them to make decisions too young, their world becomes too big to navigate. And while they might test the boundaries, they need to know the ship is safe.
To the perpetual “Why?” explanations can be delivered, potentially in such detail that they get bored or forget what they were asking. Explanations are only relevant up to a point, though, as the back and forth can become a discussion. If it’s educational, great, if it’s verbal sparring, cease and desist.
When it goes on for too long, try “I’ve already answered that question” and then shut up. If the little darling is persistent, see above and say, “Because I said so.”
Another tactic to employ in clashes that can become verbal warfare is don’t engage. You don’t need to explain yourself more than once, if at all. Silence is a powerful weapon.