Thursday, June 18, 2009

Writer's Workshop... Solicited, Unsolicited Parenting Advice

It's Thursday and I really liked one of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompts this morning. I haven't participated in a while but I have been thinking of telling you all about this for a while now and this presents me with the perfect opportunity:

Share a piece of unsolicited parenting advice...only I'm soliciting it.


Mama Kat writes a lovely piece about getting her day care children to nap every day, this includes her own children of course. She offers some great ideas which she guarantees work with the children she takes care of. Solid advice, you can be sure. My solicited, unsolicited parenting advice is somewhat different...

There are many theories on child-rearing and parenting, "
Parenting by Loving Guidance and Firm Boundaries," "Parenting by Using Natural and Logical Consequences," Parenting Using Mutual Respect and Listening," etc., etc. I'm sure they're all fine, but ultimately our goal as caregivers is to get those in our care to do what we want them to do, when we want them to do it. That brings me to my theory of parenting...

"Parenting by Competition" *

My theory works especially well for boys and I say that because I have no experience parenting a girl. If you are the parent of a female child, well, you'll have to modify these competitions to suit your purposes. It's really a very simple strategy. Just turn everything into a competition. Everything. Your child will want to win so much that they'll complete any task you ask of them, and they'll do it quickly. The key here is that you must allow your child to win pretty much all the time. Allow me to offer a few examples:

1- Cleaning up their toys...
When your child has toys that need to be cleaned up, all you have to say is, "I bet I can clean up more toys than you can AND in a faster time." Your child will instantly begin cleaning up so that they can beat you. Remember, you must allow them to beat you.

2- "Trying" to go potty when out at the mall...
This works well when your child is completely potty trained and is able to go into a bathroom stall by themselves with you in the stall next to them. It's great for those kids who say, "I don't have to go" when you know darn well that they do. Simply tell them, "I bet I can pee faster than you can." Works. Every. Time. I used it when The Son was younger, in the process of potty training, and we had to go in the same stall by telling him that I could pee longer than he did and pretending to time it, with him winning of course...

3- Going upstairs to go to bed...
Simple... "I bet I can beat you up the stairs." This one has been used in our household when the theory of "Parenting by Competition" is starting to lose it's effectiveness, this is when YOU actually win the race up the stairs. It WILL make your child angry to lose but it will also give you the upper hand by making the winning next time all the more desirable. You can quickly alleviate any anger by moving on to the next competition... "I bet can put toothpaste on my toothbrush faster than you can."

4- At the Y or beach or swimming club...
"I bet I can get dressed (or undressed or changed into my swimsuit) faster than you can"

Try it! You can add, change and modify the competitions to suit your many parenting needs. I guarantee my "Parenting by Competition" theory WILL work. If it doesn't, I suggest you research my other parenting theory... "Parenting by Bribery."

*disclaimer: This theory of parenting is meant to be taken with a grain of salt, rest assured that The Son, is truly a loving, sweet, good boy with whom we only need to resort to "Parenting by Competition" with on rare occasions. On those occasions however, it really does work. ;)


16 comments:

Sam said...

We've done the same things with our son. He's 8 and I still do it sometimes simply because now it is more of a competition. I don't let him win anymore but he beats me plenty!!!

Unknown Mami said...

I love it. I have a daughter, but I also have a much younger brother that I spent a lot of time taking care of and I would challenge him to "competitions" all the time.

Nina said...

well my favorite book (at least the parts I've read, it takes a while for me to process and read this) since knowing I was having a boy is The Wonder of Boys and that supports your competition claim. one of the best things I learned was when I was trying to nurse my son...with him being in the nicu for 3.5 weeks it was hard cause he had been used to bottles and they only let me try twice. being larger chested there are certain ways that they suggest you use...they did not work for either of us and it was really REALLY frustrating.
1. even if someone else suggests it...you know you best and you know your child best so go with your intuition.
2. pay attention to your facial expressions. kids do. even when it was hard to nurse, I always made an effort to not show that, but to smile and show how much I loved him. and I still make an effort to do that...my son is a very smiley, happy kid - everyone who sees him comments on this...and I truly think he shows this because I have worked to show him a happy face since he was born. now I'm not saying don't show other emotions to your child, I think they need to see them all but sometimes we get so distracted. focusing on my face and what he is seeing helps me to be in the moment with him...and show him how much I love him as much as I can.

Darlene said...

This is cracking me up because believe me it works just as well with girls!!!! Lexi is ALL ABOUT competition. The only difference now is that at her age of 10 we don't ALWAYS let her win...hehehe

Bethany said...

Great advice. I use competition quite a bit in my classroom. It is amazing what it can do!

Jen said...

I think that you are onto something. I have 3 boys and 1 girl and I can totally see the working with the boys.

bev/gus said...

Interesting and I know son likes to win.

April said...

Great advice. Gonna try it!

Mama Kat said...

I've never thought of that!! What a great idea...I'm totally going to use it!

Life with Kaishon said...

You are so funny : ). I haven't seen you in a while! That would work perfect in our house. I also like bribery. Works every time : )

Jessica said...

Great post & cute picture! :)

TattooedMinivanMom said...

Hmmm, interesting theory. Whatever works ya know?

Cathy said...

cute!

We use the "I bet I can beat you up the stairs" one for nap time and bedtime! I gotta try the one for the potty at the mall because you know Lily never has to go when I know darn well she has to go! ;)

Mocha Dad said...

Parenting by competition is an effective method at times.

Nikki said...

Ha!! Funny Caren :D

Great write. Thanks for sharing yoru stories.

Sam said...

My daughter is only 3 months old so its a bit soon to try this ("I bet I can change your diaper faster than you can!" But she'll just look at me with that adorable little grin!) but I think its a great bit of advice! Thanks!!!