Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ten Ways To Confuse a Child

  1. If he's yelling, yell at him: STOP YELLING! IT'S NOT NICE TO YELL. 
  2. Tell him never to talk to strangers because it's dangerous, but then tell him he is rude when he won't say hello back to the cashier at the grocery store.
  3. Tell him he should never let anyone touch him if he doesn't feel comfortable, but then don't intervene when his aunt, who he sees once a year, hugs him against his will.
  4. Tell him you can't afford to buy him the one-dollar candy bar he wants, as you are buying yourself a five-dollar cup of coffee.
  5. Tell him he has to share his favorite toy with his sister, but then later when he wants to play with your iPhone, don't let him.
  6. If he has just hit his sister, tell him it's not nice to hit someone, then grab him and hit him.
  7. Tell him he's not allowed to quit doing that thing he hates, because it's important to be persistent and determined, but then tell him to quit asking for that thing he wants because it's annoying how persistent he is.
  8. Tell him not to eat now (when he's hungry) because if he does, he won't be hungry later (when the clock says it's time for dinner).
  9. Tell him you can't do that thing he wants you to do for him because you are in the middle of writing an email, but then get really upset when he tells you he can't do something for you because he's in the middle of playing a video game.
  10. Explain how important it is to be honest, and then freak out when he tells you the truth about something he did and punish him for doing that thing. And then later, lie to him about something really important.
Wait... what? That's confusing.
Also read: Ten MORE Ways To Confuse a Child.


50 comments:

  1. HAHA! Yup that sure will confuse anyone!!!

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  2. Another great one, Vickie!!

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  3. AMEN! Love number 6, can't tell you how many times I have seen that one.

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  4. Goodness woman, this world needs more people like you

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  5. This made me smile ridiculously wide! And I agree with Megan, I see #6 so often and it makes my heart hurt. (And my brain for that matter.)

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  6. Heh heh, sooo true!!!!love it,x

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  7. Yes yes yes. Thank you for standing up for children everywhere. Right on, sister.xoxo

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  8. Thank you everyone for the kind words! I am really happy this post has struck a chord. There is so much parent-inflicted confusion for kids out there, and it makes me sad. It doesn't have to be that way.

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  9. Hi there! I am in the middle of a series on Anger in Parenting on my blog and actually have a post scheduled to run next week that lists almost every one of these concepts as a reason why parents may feel anger towards their children. I was hoping to message you privately but cannot find a way of doing so. Basically, I want to make sure that it is ok with you that I run my post. I did not want you to think that I was plagerizing your material. The wording is different of course but as I mentioned, there is an overlap in concepts. I am always respectful of other bloggers' work especially when something of mine posts so closely after. :)

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  10. @Hybrid Rasta Mama, Thanks for checking with me, but I believe you! No problem at all. Come back here and post a link to your post if you want, when you get it up. :)

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  11. Alfie Kohn talks about this concept which he calls BGUTI - Better Get Used To It. This means that we feel that is important to prepare you for this unpleasant thing that is going to happen to you later in life by doing it to you now... Makes me chuckle because it is an oft heard rationale for sending kids to school. Thanks for you blog Vickie. I don't often read blogs but your has got me hooked this morning. I am in total agreeance....with everything :)

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  12. I actually heared a parent tell a child in a store: "don't you get smart with me...or I'll hit you up the side of your head" I thought that hitting the child 'up the side of the head' would probably end that smart thing.

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  13. @Anonymous, That is so sad. I have heard threats like that too, and it breaks my heart.

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  14. I love love love this. I am a therapist who works with kids and parents a lot, and I think you have nailed a whole lot with this list!

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  15. I thought of a possible number 11. Tell him that it's time to go right now, and insist that the play date end because you have to go, and then stand talking with the other parent for as long as you like and say, Just a minute! when he interrupts to ask why.

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  16. @Miven, Your #11 is perfect! I have thought of a few more, and may end up putting up another list when I get enough. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. So, are we pretending here that all the things (not all actually, but some) that were the 'but thens...' never make sense?

    Sorry, I get the 'protect kids/respect kids' hooplah, but don't throw baby out with the bathwater.

    Especially things like 'sharing' your iphone with your kid because you want them to learn to share. How about I not give my 3 year old a breakable 400 dollar device and instead expect them to share their toys anyway.

    There is no perfect, but in parenting you have to use your common sense. And common sense says "kids should learn to share toys, like I share my pencils, tape, napkins, but kids still don't have a right to take my expensive tools I use for work and parenting when they are likely to break them"

    Sorry, but there's a middle ground that actually is more natural and makes sense and this ain't it.

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  18. @Anonymous, Your assumption is incorrect. I was not saying NEVER DO what comes after the "but then..." in each statement above. I was saying that, taken as a whole, each thing would be confusing to a child. For me, the choice is not between "Kids should never share" and "Adults should always share." There is a LOT of room between those two options. Everyone has special things that they don't want to share, and I believe they should not have to. For you, it's your cell phone. For your kid, it could be some toys. Neither of you should HAVE TO share. That is what I am saying. Thanks for the comment.

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  19. Just found your blog and I love it! So many good points. I was at a play area with my kids (1 and almost 4) and a little boy (Mom said he was almost 18 months) was climbing on something with my 1 year old. He pushed her a bit to try and get past, didn't hurt her, and it was definitely innocent and age appropriate. Well, mom grabbed him, threw him to the ground, smacked him hard, and said "We do NOT hit people who are littler than us!" I was blown away by the hypocrisy of the situation. I was trying to formulate some sort of response for when she stood back up and said something to me, but she just grabbed the poor boy and stormed out.

    To the anonymous commenter, my older daughter plays with our iPhone, and has since she was 18months. At first, we sat with her and made certain that she didn't throw it. We showed her how to use it properly and she knows that as long as she's careful with it she can use it. I think there is more value to showing a child how to be respectful with a prized possession than keeping it away so that if they were to find it accidentally they wouldn't know how to use it properly. There are enough games specifically for toddlers available, that I don't think we're the only ones. She has never broken it or come close.

    That being said, I can completely understand why someone wouldn't want their children to play with their phones. I think the point of the post wasn't that adults should share, it was that kids should be allowed to have favourite possessions they don't want to share too. If we have kids coming over, I'll ask my daughter if there are any toys out that she doesn't feel like sharing that day, and we'll put those ones away. Usually there are just one or two. Most of the time lately she doesn't pick out any. She knows that the rest of the toys are for everyone to play with, and we rarely have problems with sharing even though we have never forced her to share or set time limits on turns.

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  20. @Lindsay, Your playground experience sounds like hypocrisy at it's finest. I feel so sad for kids and parents whose relationships are full of stress and anger. It doesn't have to be like that!

    And about the phone/toy issue, you described exactly my point. Thank you! Glad you are enjoying reading. :)

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  21. if it wasn't so painfully true, this would be funny. Now it's just bittersweet

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  22. This is a great post. I have caught myself doing a few of these things and have to be careful about it, as sadly, these types of responses seem to be etched into most of us and it takes some thinking before you respond to not just react like the parents in these examples.

    To the anonymous commenter, my husband and I also let my 22 month old play with our Droid and he loves the alphabet app and even knows how to "turn the pages" by himself. Just because a child is little doesn't automatically mean that they do not know how to be gentle or that they will break things.
    We should never expect our child to act differently than us. If you want your child to eat healthy, you must eat healthy. If you want your child to wear a hat when he plays outside, then you must wear at hat outside. Now, obviously, you COULD just make them do as I say, not as I do - but it makes much more sense to them to actually be a role model.

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  23. @mamapoekie, I know! It's a tough time to be a child. Especially the ones who have to live with all ten of these thigns on a regular basis.

    @Lisa, It's true, it takes a lot of thought and some de-programming to avoid these things. And you are right "do as I say, not as I do" is a very silly way of parenting!

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  24. These are great. I really dislike hypocrisy and these are examples that are very obvious to a child! Very nice post. Parents ought to walk the walk!

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  25. @Alex, I agree. I can't stand hypocrisy. And kids are really good at spotting it, but they are usually powerless against it. Thanks for the comment!

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  26. Something to add: Tell your child they aren't allowed to cross the street by themselves, but then they see you do it. (tongue-in-cheek, of course)

    I think this post lacks the understanding that there is a difference between parents and children.

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  27. @Anonymous, I didn't include that one for a reason: It's not that confusing. There's a pretty easy way to explain why we don't let children cross the street alone until we are sure they can be safe.

    Try explaining the ones I actually did put on the list though. You won't find it so simple.

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  28. #2-It's unsafe in this day and age for kids to talk to strangers unless they are accompanied by you i.e. at the checkout register.
    #3-It's important for children to show affection to their family members. I didn't want my aunt to hug me when I was little because I thought it was uncool. There's a difference between a child seriously feeling uncomfortable in a situation like that and simply not wanting to.
    #5-You are the adult and tend to have more expensive items that can be more easily damaged than his $5 toy car.
    #6-Hitting out of anger and tapping on the bottom or hand out of discipline are completely different.

    The other ones I don't necessarily disagree with you on. But I do still feel that the child needs to recognize there is a difference between what he is allowed to do and what mommy and daddy are allowed to do. As a parent, it is completely within your right to assert your authority with your children. I don't believe that is confusing for most children at all. When I was a child, I understood that I was a child and my parents were the parents. I trusted knew, even if I didn't quite understand exactly why I was being told no, that they knew what was best for me because they were my parents and I was their responsibility.

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  29. @ Anonymous; I have the feeling you don't get the idea behind this post. It's about confusing your child. Not so much about being wrong or right, asI see it.

    #2: I think its unsafe to teach your kids NOT to talk to strangers, but may be that is just me. People who want to hurt your child know you teach them about 'strangers' so won't act like strangers. In fact, most people who DO hurt a child are people they know. Like the family and friends in #3 who they need to hug because they are related. Tell me about it, i've been there as a little girl. Those crazy ass folks who hurt kids are -in a kids mind- nice to them. So IMO those things are separate issues.
    #3: So, when you just visit your relatives once a year a kids has to adept and hug someone they hardly know on a personal level like that? Don't talk to strangers but you must hug them if it's feels like a stranger but in fact is a relative you hardly know. Why not let them get to know each other and wait for the child to give a real, genuine hug because he or she likes the person? Simply not wanting to is a very good reason for not-hugging by the way. In fact it is the best.
    #5: Again, the post is about confusing. My 1 yo really doesn't know the difference between my iPhone and her toy car. My 4 yo does know but it's about the value, not the cost. My iPhone may be worth hundreds of dollars, but she values and loves some of her toys more then I do my iPhone.
    #6: For a small child, and again we are talking about confusing situations, it is not. Really, it's not.

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  30. "#6-Hitting out of anger and tapping on the bottom or hand out of discipline are completely different."

    Yes, one is more or less socially acceptable, the other isn't. Beside that their both hitting. "We do NOT hit!"

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  31. Thank you Kat and Alison. You both took care of what I was going to say.

    @Anonymous, See Kat's comment. This post is not about what to do and what not to do, or what your right is as a parent. It's about things adults do that seem contradictory. I can see where all of these things would be confusing to a child. If you can't, then that's fine.

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  32. ill do exactly like that. after time it makes a lot of fun for both :)))) thanx!

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  33. I love most of these but I agree with anonymous i am not letting my little one have my iphone in a million years nor mine or my husbands laptop.

    Also when my little one starts paying the bills with computer games then i wont interrupt to do something i need them to do. My emails do pay the bills so therefore let me get them done first so that they can continue to pay for your video games.

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  34. @ Dominique
    This is where it goes from confusing to rational. The problem is that it only makes sense if you take the time to explain to the child.
    BTW video games can pay the bills. Starcraft is a national 'sport' in Korea for example...

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  35. I can't believe no one has suggested adding:

    #11 - Religion.

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  36. I agree with everything except the iphone example and the interrupting the email example. I work from home, so I am sure there is going to be plenty of that going on. My older daughters (10 and 12) sometimes like to call me out on what they view as hypocrisy but usually it is an issue of comparing apples and oranges. When it is valid, I apologize and correct my behavior. I believe strongly in minimizing hypocritical behavior, but I also believe children need to be taught that moms and dads have understanding, wisdom, responsibilities and privileges children do not and that not all behavior that could literally be interpreted as "hypocritical" actually is. Yes, you have to go to bed at 8 and I can stay up until 11....yes, you have to share your stuffed dog but you may not play with my Droid which is critical to my business. I think children have a basic understanding that there are different standards for children and adults and as they get older, if there is proper communication and respect, they understand why.

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  37. I just wanted to add that this is where communication comes in. My own mother has had plenty of talks with me where she has voiced concerns that I "talk to my daughters too much". She thinks I shouldn;t go into detail explaining why what they did was wrong or why they are being disciplined, etc. She thinks "because I am the mother and I said so" is sufficient. And it should be, IF absolutely necessary - like an emergency "don't move a muscle (there's a snake by you!) situation. But if you CAN, why NOT talk it out? Why not use every opportunity possible to connect with your child and to explain to them they why's...

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    1. I completely agree with you! I was told " because I am mom and I said so" all the time! I feel that if you have open communication and can rationally explain the why to your child must of the time, then the emergency " because I said so" will be much more easily accepted. your child will trust that you will explain yourself in due time.

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  38. These are true but many of them aren't bad.. Like NOT letting a child snack before dinner because then they won't be hungry for dinner. That may be confusing for younger children but not to sound harsh, but too bad. As parents we have to do whats best, even if the child is confuse. We do the best we can too explain but bottom line is we are the parent!

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  39. Can I please translate this into spanish?

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    1. I just wanted to make sure you saw my reply, because it looks like it posted as a separate comment instead of a reply directly to you. I would love it if you translates this into Spanish! Just link to me if you so it, and come back here and share the link so I can see it :)

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  40. Sure! Please do link to this page when you do it :)

    Also, can you come back here and leave the link as well? I'd love to see it. Thanks!!

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