Monday, 8 October 2012

Parents ignoring you? Mete out a swift penalty!

"Your 6-year-old. Sometimes kids are so intensely focused on what they're doing that they do miss out on what's being said around them. But deliberate ignoring is another matter."  This is what my email told me authoritatively this evening. I apparently subscribed to Babycentre when I was pregnant for the first time and seven years later I *still* haven't got round to clicking that unsubscribe link. 

I was curious (I know, a dangerous thing) as to what this other matter could be, so I clicked the link. And I sighed, and reflected, and decided that it was a little unfair that these parents should have this magical advice sheet to bend children to their will, without providing said children with a corresponding advice sheet of their own. So, voila!

Often parents ignore you so they can avoid getting off Facebook, or fighting over something they really can't be bothered doing, like cleaning up glitter, or reading your favourite story for the eighty fourth time. Or they do so because they know you'll scream, and they must like that because they keep making you do it.

Some ideas for an ignoring problem:

  • Start by making sure your requests are simple and specific. "You need to make me mint choc chip ice cream for breakfast, with sauce and sprinkles" is better than "I don't want porridge!" That way, your mother can't claim she didn't know what you meant.
  • Find the right motivation. We all respond to positive reinforcement, so offer rewards when your parent does listen and follow through. (Your reward could be something as simple as a pat on the head, or giving them time to drink a cup of tea while it's still hot.)
  • Try to eliminate "No" from your vocabulary. The more they hear it, the more they start looking up articles on Babycentre on how to train you like a dog, and one of these days you might not outwit them. Instead of "No, I don't want to go to school," try "I tire of your primitive Victorian system and your simplistic and off-target pedagogy. Let me be unschooled, and run free with the wind in my hair and the unfettered air in my lungs." Then watch their faces, it's a stunner!
  • Don't let your parent get away with ignoring you on purpose. If she doesn't do as you request, mete out a swift, appropriate penalty, such as making them sit on a step you have decorated especially for the purpose, or making them watch The Duck Song once for every year of their age. It'll be stuck in their head for weeks, the blighters, that'll learn 'em!


  1. Except my mum actually likes the duck song and gleefully inflicted in on me and then proceeded to repeatedly watch it with my children - so I don't think she'd be bothered if I made her watch it 62 times (she's already done that herself - or at least it feels like it...)

    I reckon a *proper* custard-based icecream is just the chilled version of the breakfast omelette we have here and will have to try that for breakfast myself :-D