How to talk so your kids will listen

Posted Friday 30th March 2012   By Ericka Waller

I recently purchased "How to talk so your kids will listen, and listen so your kids will talk" I bought it to stop me shouting at four.

I don't ever mean to shout at four. I never start by shouting at four, but somehow, I always end up with peter pointer aimed at her screeching "FOUR! LISTEN TO ME" or "GET OFF YOUR SISTER" or my husband's personal favourite "DON'T SHOUT AT ME!"

Shouting at my kids makes me feel all kinds of crap. Their scared faces. Their watery-eyed silences. Their wobbly said "sorrys". Their instant forgiveness when I say sorry. It reminds me that my heart no longer lives inside me. It's split three ways and beats inside them.

My husband is very bored of me unloading my poor parenting on him each night. I am no Catholic but I feel an overwhelming need to confess my motherly sins and hear I am forgiven. Instead of hail marys however, I hand out Haribo and turn on The Disney Channel.

Anyway, in a "Be the change you want to see" type manner, I bought the book. So far I've read chapter one. I am not allowed to read the next chapter till I've mastered the art of the first one, so the book says. I don't like being told what to do by a book. It's like the book has it's very own peter pointer aimed at me. Well it can't tell me what to do. PISS OFF BOOK. Oh look, I'm shouting again. Chapter one did not go well.

It was all about approaches. Rather than saying "no", it told me to fabricate an alternative world and "wish" the answer could be different. Make the word no fun!

Sounds great doesn't it?

But not very practical when it's 8.55am, we are late to get out the house already, and four appears at the top of the stairs announcing she will be going to nursery naked save for a crown.

Creating an alternative universe where I "wish you could go to nursery naked too, but a magic jumping bean might shoot up your bottom and turn you into a tree so tall your head is in giant land, and we don't want that do we, ho ho ho" is a little long winded.... One of the other children is taking her shoes off, another is crying for a feed and there will be no parking spaces. I just need four to "PUT SOME CLOTHES ON, RIGHT THIS MINUTE, AND GET IN THE BLOODY CAR"


Ten minutes later in the car, I pass a fried-egg-shaped haribo to a snivelling four who explains "I only wanted to be like the Emperor in his new clothes mummy" Feeling more rational, on schedule and slightly wired from a few fried-egg haribos myself, I start to understand her logic.

"Sorry pops" I tell her "The morning lost it's legs."

"That's OK mummy. Shall we share a fizzy cola bottle?"

Why not?

The book lives under the bed, where I tossed it, in a mood. Maybe I will ingest the rest of the chapters by some imaginative form of osmosis. If not, who cares?

I can be a snappy crocodile at times, but shouting in my house come with explanations and sorries. So maybe I don't always remember to sugar coat my requests, but I do my apologies.