• Dadwagon on Facebook
  • Dadwagon on Twitter
  • Dadwagon RSS feed

Dad vs. Toddler: An Evolving Dynamic

June 14th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  2 Comments

Getting a toddler to do what you want her to can be a complicated process. The kid is just learning the power of no, after all, and so the chances that she’ll do what you ask—brush her teeth, take a bath, for god’s sake put down the machete—are next to zero. You do everything you can to get the right outcome, deploying a commanding voice, threatening to take away beloved objects (the Dora doll, the Spongebob DVDs, Mom herself), and issuing timeout after timeout.

Lately, our house has seen a new and (to us, at least) fascinating twist in the struggle to accomplish basic daily chores. The other night, for example, I managed to brush Sasha’s without too much trouble, but then, when it came time for her to rinse, she refused. This was pretty frustrating. After all, if she refuses to brush (or be brushed) I know I can just make her cry, and then she’ll open her mouth, and then I can brush her teeth.

But rinsing her mouth out is something you can’t exactly force (at least, not till she’s, I don’t know, 10 years old). And so there was a standoff: yes, no, yes, no, YES, NO! I threatened to take away everything she loves—ice cream, Dora, her magic wand—but still she stood there on the verge of tears, until at last she whispered, “Timeout.” Yes, she wanted a timeout, and so I gave her one, and off she ran to her room, where she huddled up on her bed for a few minutes, then called my name. I opened the door, she came out, and she rinsed her mouth out, no problem.

Because of Sasha’s mother’s Chinese background, it’s hard for me not to see this as a proto-face-saving strategy. That is, Sasha actually wants to rinse her mouth out, but after her initial, instinctive no she can’t simply back down. But her experience with timeouts has taught her the ritual of punishment and reconciliation, after which a child habitually conforms to a parent’s desires. So now she requests the punishment, as her way out of this Gordian predicament. Either that or she knows that the timeout will give her the time and space to settle down enough not to care about rinsing her mouth out.

The amazing thing is, she’s already developed a twist on this strategy. I don’t remember what we were fighting over—probably bathtime—but it escalated to the point where she suggested a timeout for herself, but then, when I went to fetch her afterwards, she was still resistant, as if she thought the punishment ritual would be enough for me this time to forget about the clash. That was when I had to resort to traditional methods, dragging her kicking and screaming to the tub, pulling her clothes off and plopping her in. An old trick for this old dog, but I’m sure Sasha will find a way around it soon.


Responses

  1. NG says:

    June 14th, 2011at 2:51 pm(#)

    Maybe she thinks timeout is punishment for you somehow?

  2. Matt says:

    June 14th, 2011at 3:43 pm(#)

    I guess I won’t tell her that it’s a huge relief!

Leave a Response

tips/suggestions/grievances

Recent Comments

  • Dee: As one of the impressed moms there last night, and also because my kid ate 3 bowls of that bolognese, thanks for...
  • Drew Wallner via Facebook: I’m totally making this when we get back from holiday travel, I even just got a...
  • Matt: Whoops! Just put that back in. The recipe editor has been fired.
  • Ed Lilly: Looks great – thanks for posting! One question – you did not specify putting the meat back into...
  • Maks: I’m against baby yoga for sure, but want to say something regarding that author is a little wild about...

DadWagon Reads!

DadWagon

Do you show this to your kids?

AP Images

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Turkish police shot and killed the gunman, Turkish station NTV reported. Russia's ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot in Ankara, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. #APPhoto by Burhan Ozbilici

Story developing: http://apne.ws/2hRY0rH

Dec 19th, 2016 7:32pm • No Comments

"They watch their mothers and fathers overdose and die on the bathroom floor. They live without electricity, food or heat when their parents can’t pay the bills. They stop going to school, and learn to steal and forage to meet their basic needs."

The Children of the Opioid Crisis

wsj.com

Left behind by addict parents, tens of thousands of youngsters flood the nation’s foster-care system; grandparents become moms and dads again

Dec 16th, 2016 2:11pm • No Comments

Don't forget the gift receipt(s)!

A Gift for Every Type of Dad (That You Can Buy on Amazon)

nymag.com

Including cricket-flour protein bars, ice-cold beer chillers, and an air fryer that uses hardly any oil.

Dec 9th, 2016 3:27pm • No Comments

As Ryu Spaeth pointed out, the only thing worse than "Papa" is the pronunciation "paPA." PERISH THE THOUGHT.

DadWagon

“I just think ‘dad’ and ‘mom’ are very Saved by the Bell-ish,” said Will Grose, 36, a Brooklyn father of three boys under the age of 5.

Nov 30th, 2016 5:20pm • 1 Comment