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Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 17 – Don’t Ask. Tell.

by Deborah Cruz

Yesterday’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 16 – Say what you mean…
was a little difficult. I am a talker and I tend to over think and over talk everything. I think at my girls’ young ages they have already learned that Mommy likes to make idle threats. Its not intentional. I just threaten and then I hate to actually punish them.But I have been working on it.For example, the other day my girls got shots and they were very brave. I promised them that for their bravery I would reward them with a trip to Target and the luxury of each picking out 1 item ( Not to exceed $10). We finally made it to the store and of course they both headed right for the $30 dress up dresses, bypassing the $10 Barbie clothes they had said they wanted. I almost (ALMOST) bought them the dresses but I felt conflicted because what kind of message was that sending to them? I mean it was only a innocuous dress but what kind of life lesson would this parlay into..one day, I will tell them I’ll buy them a used sedan as their first car and they will go to the car lot and head straight for the brand new sports cars. NO thank you. I must stick to my words. I must say what I mean and actually mean what I say. So, after a couple of tired girls having a couple of major meltdowns. I issued the either we stick to the $10 limit or we leave and if crying continued…we are still leaving. Amazingly enough,they both quieted up and we left with the $9 ( clearance) dress up shoes, leaving the $30 dress up dresses behind for Santa to buy:) How did it go for you ladies?

Today’s  Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 17 – Don’t Ask. Tell. We’re a question asking society, particularly the fairer sex, who often end statements with some sort of question mark – perhaps not intentionally, but all the same. We inquiringly raise our voices at the end of most sentences instantly turning it from a statement to a question. Why? Do we need constant validation?

Even worse, many people (moms and dads alike) ask their kids questions when they probably should be making statements. Seriously, the biggest mistake we make today is asking questions that we already have the answer to. It’s like we are giving them just enough rope to hang themselves. They are children, there should be no choice of whether or not they want to eat their broccoli, go to sleep, or brush their teeth when they are young. We are their parents, we need to guide them; not confuse them with unnecessary questions.

“Do you want to get down?”
“Can you turn off the television?”
“Time for bed. Okay?”

In this time of parents treating their children like little people, instead of actual children, we have lost our authority. I feel like we are also putting unnecessary pressure on our children to make decisions that they are not equipped to make logically. When they answer with their id and say a resounding (my personal favorite) “NO!”,we’re screwed.Rhetorical questions really are lost on children. Haven’t you ever heard, if you don’t want my answer then don’t ask the question? This is what these questions set us up for aggravation and disappointment. We bring it on ourselves. Our challenge is to tell them what is expected of them. To be their parent and let them be the child. Once they are old enough and have been guided enough, they will make the right choices. I’m not saying to be a tyrant but we do need to be the adult.

We’ll talk about giving your kids choices later on, but for today, work on making statements and losing the whole “okay?” or “alright?” – most importantly when you’re giving directives. Those really shouldn’t have a “yes” or “no” option.

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Robin 2010/08/17 - 7:51 pm

They don't know it, but kids want boundaries more than anything. They want to know the rules. So, you are right. Tell, don't ask. That way there is no confusion. Good post. I am curious to see how this one works out long-term.

Justin and Marcie 2010/08/17 - 8:06 pm

Following you from Follow Me Back Tuesday and I must say, I am so glad I found your blog. My husband and I are talking about trying next year for our first child so any advice like what you blog about is awesome information for me!!! Excited to see what all you've written in the past!

You can follow me back if you want:


Mrs. Beer 2010/08/17 - 8:10 pm

Very interesting. Never thought about that before! I was always taught to give options to kids because it builds confidence, but you're right, when it comes to necessities saying, "hold mommy's hand," while crossing a parking lot, makes much better sense than, "hold mommy's hand, okay?". Should be no choice there. I ask questions like that constantly without even thinking about it! Thank you for the insight!

Kelly Polizzi 2010/08/17 - 11:56 pm

love this post, very true. I am guilty of this also so thank you for the reminder! Good for you also in sticking to what you said.

Following you back!

addicted2shius 2010/08/19 - 10:51 am

Awesome of the bargain finds! I love finding cute things for cheap!!

Now with today's challenge, this is where you and I might differ. I totally agree with Robyn and I'm more of a demander. I should probably give my kids more options. I allow them to make choices more on menial things. Picking out their clothes, their hairstyles, etc. But that's it haha


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