A man is walking down the street in the middle of summer. It is a city street with several apartment buildings on top of store fronts.
It is a quiet day and the only child he sees is a little girl jumping rope on the sidewalk.
The man stops at his bus stop.
A woman opens a windw from one of the apartments several floors up and calls out, "Suzy. Suzy, time for lunch, come inside."
The man looks around and sees the little girl continue to jump rope. "Must not be Suzy." he thinks to himself.
Again, the woman calls for Suzy. Again there is no one responding to her.
The man is a bit puzzled at this point. "Where is Suzy?" he wonders.
The woman calls out a third time. Nothing.
The man gets up from his bench and approaches the little girl skipping rope.
"Excuse me, young lady" the man says as he interrupts her play, "Do you know who 'Suzy' is?"
The little girl replies without missing a jump, "I'm Suzy!"
Relieved that 'Suzy' wasn't lost the man asks her, "Did you hear your mother calling you in for lunch?"
"Oh" said the girl. "Yes, I heard her. Thank you" and she continued with her jumping rope.
The man inquired further, "Then why are you still jumping rope? Shouldn't you go inside like your mother called for you to do?"
"Nope" replied the girl in a matter-of-fact way.
Further puzzled and quite intrigued the man asked with a straight face, "Why not?"
The girl stopped jumping, looked to where her mother's voice came from and as she began jumping rope again she replied, with a smirk on her face, "Because she hasn't yelled yet."
The man left shaking his head.
Kids respond to what we set them up for.
Lindsay and I have found ourselves repeating ourselves when giving directions or making requests of our children for most of their lives.
It hasn't worked. Between Ava and Henry we either get ignored until we raise our voices or we get the "yes-no" game.
Ahhh, the "yes-no" game. Let's play.
This game is where the child is given a task to complete, (going potty, eating something, whatever it may be) and says that they want to do this task. Then they trun around and say the do not want to do it. Then the parent gives them a choice and the child chooses. The child turns around and says they do not want the choice they just made. The whole game continues until either the parent loses thier cool or the child ends up crying hysterically--or both. Funny thing about the "yes-no" game--there are no winners.
Last night Lindsay and I decided to instill a 'new rule' called, "One and Done".
Simple rule, really: We will make a request or give a direction once. Then we're done.
As long as the child hears the request and understands what is involved, we will not repeat it. End of story.
If they do not "comply" the natural (and or logical) consequences will ensue. Period.
This is a bit of a tougher game than the "Yes-No" game; but in this game, there are winners.
In fact, the winning last a lifetime for all.
Let the games begin!!