Does “reverse psychology” really work? I suppose it depends on when it’s being used. For example, I’m trying it a bit today with my 9-year-old son and I’m curious to see the end result. My competition? Wii! I know I can just put my foot down and force him, however I’m sure the impact will last if it’s something he realizes himself.
So here’s the breakdown–being a single mother is tough! In fact, being a parent at all is tough nowadays. Look at what we gotta compete with; computer games, movies, friends, sports, schools, and the list never ends, yet the parents are the ones expected to be in control of the whole cacophony at the end of the day. Obviously, we need to be “smarter than the average bear” in order to stay one step ahead, right? We’ve gotta learn to work with what we got!
Here’s the plan–I had a pressing medical event on Friday for four hours that literally drained my energy with barely enough to climb the stairs. Over the past couple of days, my house has gone to the dogs! Thank goodness we don’t have one, or it would probably be starving! Despite feeling overwhelmed with housework, cooking, and anything else that builds up in a couple of days time, I have no choice but to drag myself through the house and tackle each task I stumble upon today.
My kids are nine and four. While they generally listen well and behave, this is the time I need them most! My four-year-old was sick yesterday, as was I, and I am giving her less tasking work. My nine-year-old performs “comparison shopping” between my ex and myself, if you know what I mean. Sometimes this makes it difficult to motivate him.
As I ruffle through the dishes, attempting to place them in the washer while bracing myself with the other hand, I decide to give him an option. I tell him I will give him Netflix in his room if he will really put his nose to the grindstone and help me today, or he can continue with his Wii games all by himself all day in the family room. He stalls around a bit before I get restless and tell him he has three minutes to decide.
I finally give up on waiting and tell him I’ve decided. “Oh great! I guess I will be helping you clean the house. I hope it isn’t the whole thing, but I guess if I get the Netflix connection I can help you with the main level for a while.” I don’t know when my son became a car salesman, but I’m not in the market today.
“No, I’ve decided you are to report downstairs and spend the entire day playing the Wii, ” I reply. He appears as if the Pearly Gates swinged open in front of his eyes! A smile of relief washes over his countenance and he rushes for the stairway.
“You cannot come up until I call you at the end of the day,” I warn him, but he doesn’t seem fazed. I don’t think he’s realized yet that he’s missed lunch, but perhaps around dinner time, he’ll begin to notice playing all alone–hungry–isn’t so great. He’ll need to pull out the bread and jelly to make a satisfying meal because by dinnertime, I’ll be much too exhausted to dress the chicken and create a “real” meal. I’m basically giving him so much of what he wants, even after he’s done wanting it, thinking it will delute the experience. By the way, he can forget Netflix now!
What are your suggestions for children unwilling to cooperate?