Anyone else have battles getting their kids dressed? Here’s how we currently roll. The littlest lad is the most compliant, yet even he wriggles around and squawks a bit. The middle lad is the trickiest, he loves hanging out in his pjs. Every single day he insists that the biggest lad get dressed first. Then there’s the biggest lad, who some days cooperates and other days, well we have strife.
I’m learning with the biggest lad. He likes to chose his clothes. He’s five. He’s learning about outfits. He likes his clothes to match. Match in the kids sense of the word. So Tuesday he dressed himself for childcare (winning) but he wore all red. Red shorts and red t-shirt. He proudly asked me if it was a good match. I’m to blame here you see. At some point I’ve told him a certain outfit didn’t match, meaning it clashed or didn’t really co-ordinate well. Kids however are more literal. So he picks clothes that are a close colour match. I’m running with the concept that he’s embraced a monochromatic style!
On Wednesday morning the biggest lad was losing his cool because he wanted to chose his clothes. In the hurry to get out the door I’d grabbed some (non monochromatic) clothes for him. He was loudly complaining about how he wanted to pick what he wore and if I was going to pick his clothes then I’d have to get him dressed. Seriously, I’m yet to make sense of kid rationale.
Pretend you’re in the FBI
But in the midst of this I remembered an article I’d read about parenting like an FBI hostage negotiator. Don’t deny his feelings. So I stopped myself from saying my usual ‘come on buddy, we just have to get dressed so we can get you to childcare and mummy and daddy can go to work, blah, blah’. I said something like, ‘I’m sorry buddy, I didn’t know choosing your own clothes was so important to you. How about we get dressed into these clothes and you pick your outfit tomorrow’. This worked a treat. He gave me a hug and said ‘thank you mummy’.
Think about it, there are plenty of similarities between a day at home with kids and a hostage situation. The endless, irrational demands. We want a phone, a plane and pizza! The inability to communicate with the outside world, you can’t go to the toilet alone and sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. It’s not such a leap then to negotiate like I’m a member of the FBI!
I’ve said it before but I’m absolutely no parenting expert. But parenting like an FBI hostage negotiator, without the accent and uniform, could catch on. I’d like a mega phone though, at least then the boys might actually hear me acknowledging their feelings.
What do you think? Is parenting like an FBI hostage negotiator worth a shot at your house?