There comes a time in your life as a parent when you need to employ strategic politics. It has come to mine several times already and one in particular happened some months ago.
Both my kids have always been so active, always lively and very loud. I know, most toddlers are like that and when I see a mild-mannered kid it can feel like, “oh, now that’s new.” But my kids are like most toddlers who can turn the house from tidy to what-the-hell-happened in seconds. My eldest is only a year and a half older than his sister so they would always be partners-in-crime or worse, they’d be rivals. Our house is always noisy, we can’t watch anything properly, it takes me forever to get work done because I’d always have to check what they’re up to when they’re unusually quiet or break them up from a riot.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly complaining. I am very grateful that they are lively, healthy, happy kids. I am merely recounting events that have become “facts of our lives” as parents of these two active kids. Sometimes though, you need even just a few minutes of peace and quiet to finish something; or today’s episode of your favorite soap is just too juicy to miss; or you need the kids to sleep so you can have some time with your partner already.
So some months ago, I think that was September, JBdad decided to unlock our emergency secret weapon #1. After dinner, he made the kids watch The Grudge. (oops, stop. a disclaimer for would be critics: i’m not saying that this is a great thing to do and I am in no way telling other parents to do the same. and this is not a “perfect-parenting-blog). The objective is for them to get familiar with “The Grudge” and maybe the name can be strategically used in the future to get them to listen.
The actual movie watching was uneventful. They were pretty brave and sat through the whole movie quietly. JBboy (3) would ask occasional questions and JBgirl (not even 2 then) was either quiet or not at all that interested. But it has since then given us a great convincing tool; you know like, when they are getting too loud, when it’s way past siesta time and they’re still jumping about, stuff like that. I don’t really think they’re scared, I think they just take it to mean like “okay, they’re serious now.”
When I was a child, parents here used almost the same “strategic secret weapons” and a lot of them were scary creatures (our culture has lots of them that I wanna mention now but it’s 4am and I’m the only one awake). Others and equally popular were unfortunately a bit racist or derogatory, the most popular of which is the “bumbay.” During the 90’s, there were a lot of Indian nationals who ride around neighborhoods in their motorcycles and there are the go-to’s of those needing cash and fast. They were really friendly, tolerant and at times “abused-for-their-kindness” men who unfortunately, because of their wardrobe became an easy target for parents who need a convincing tactic for their kids. So popular tactic #1: Don’t get out of the house, the bumbay will carry you away in his motorcycle. I know, not very nice; but it worked really well for parents back in the days. (for possible Indian nationals that may come across this blog, please do not get offended, our parents loved the jewelry and the umbrellas and all the other stuff and they tried to keep up with the installment payment because you were all really nice and understanding. it’s just that, sometimes, parenting was hard and lack of imagination prompted them to do that).
another one would be the neighborhood eccentric. i think this would be popular everywhere and each one would have their local version. ours was this young man (then) who used to walk around pushing his cart to collect pig feed (i was also scared of him).
I think using The Grudge is us staying away from the racist and the derogatory. I know you have strategic secret weapons of your own. Care to share?
- Motherlode Blog: Parental Quandary: A Child’s Disturbing Games (parenting.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Introducing Parenting Tips (psychcentral.com)
- The Girl From The TV (domesticrecluse.wordpress.com)
- Toddler Discipline: Effective and Appropriate Tactics (webmd.com)
- TODDLERS AND YOUNGER SIBLINGS – Guest Post by Joanne Mallon (lifeloveandlivingwithboys.wordpress.com)
- Discipline these days (wknightdotcom.wordpress.com)