Monday, September 24, 2007

I Have a Job For You

A few days ago, I picked my son up from preschool in a single stroller. This meant that only one of my two children could ride in it. I chose my 8-month old daughter.

I knew my son would not be pleased. He is just starting to want everything she is holding and do everything she is doing. So I tried to be creative and "involve him in the process."

I have a job for you, I chippered. Why don't you push J in the stroller today. He protested at first and then agreed. A tantrum averted!

Two hours later, we were sitting on our living room couch.

"I have a job for you, Mommy," he said.

"Huh?"

"Take my shoes off."

Hmmm. I did my best not to laugh and explain that this is not how we speak to Mommy. We ask nicely. And I wondered, who could blame him?

Our little exchange got me thinking, how do you instill in children a sense of honor and respect for their parents? Is it more effective to model respectful language and avoid even such benign expressions as "I have a job for you," or is it better to draw clear distinctions between the way we may speak to children and the way they may speak to us?

Like everything, the answer must lie somewhere in that ever-confusing territory known as "the middle." We'll muddle through together.

1 comment:

Gluckel of Manhattan said...

I never thought how that little phrase might be turned around against you! Keep us posted. I could learn a lot from you!