The other day I was observing a 2-year-old who stopped at a vending machine with curiosity and watched his mother’s reaction to him.
She spent at least 2-3 minutes trying to coerce him into continuing on, getting more annoyed and starting up on the threats. She didn’t get angry, to her credit, but she was taking quite a bit of time to get him to co-operate, to no avail.
I resonated with this incident from over the years, but found myself wondering (which was easy to from my objective position of observation, rather than being in it), do we really make this harder than it needs to be?
Reality: The boy was inquisitive and found it amazing that there were buttons to press.
What if the mother had recognised what the boy wanted, walked back to the vending machine and shared his fascination, “It’s so cool isn’t it?” I wonder what would happen if we pressed the button? [get him to press button]. Uh-oh, nothing happened, but that was fun wasn’t it? Oh well, let’s keep moving on and see what other fascinating things we can find.”
Would this have moved him along quicker without the fight? Would it have empowered him and made him feel like his wants/needs were important?
Are we unnecessarily trying to get our way, when acknowledging what our child wants and ‘negotiating’ with them gets us what we want quicker and leaves us with less fights and happier children / parents?
Food for thought…