The Edmond Sun

Features

October 11, 2013

LIVING WITH CHILDREN: Explanations of ‘no’ just aren’t required

BALTIMORE — Q: My 5-year-old daughter has developed a bad habit of arguing with me whenever I refuse her something, anything. Believe me when I tell you she is relentless. She will continue to argue until I put her in her room, but as soon as I let her out, she starts up again. I shared this with a therapist friend who told me that my daughter is trying to manipulate me, to control the relationship. She said to just continue putting her in her room whenever it happens and it will eventually stop. Do you agree?

A:
Since you are not in a formal relationship with this therapist, since she’s a friend, I can answer your question: No, I most definitely do not agree. At age 5, your daughter’s brain has not developed the ability to consciously, with malice aforethought, manipulate someone. That very sociopathic ability does not develop, on average, until age 12 or so.

Your daughter is arguing with you for the same three reasons all children argue with their parents: First, you explain yourself; second, you try to get her to agree with your explanation; third, she throws down the proverbial gauntlet and you pick it up. I’ll take each of these in turn.

Explanations invite pushback, and pushback is argument. When your daughter asks for something, it’s one thing to simply say “No.” It’s quite another to go on and on about why you are saying “No.” You tell your daughter, for example, that you’re not going to buy her a new Princess Fantastic doll because she has enough of them already and they cost too much anyway. Your daughter responds with a rebuttal, as in, “But Mom, I only have five and besides, this is the one everyone’s been waiting for and all my friends are getting it and besides, it doesn’t cost nearly as much as that new washing machine you and Dad bought last week.”

You then tell your daughter that the fact that everyone is getting the new doll isn’t reason enough to pay that much money for it and, yes, five is enough, and where the new washing machine is concerned, that was something the family needed, not something you simply wanted. And your daughter comes back with ... and the game is on.

Your objective in this game of back-and-forth is to get your daughter to say what no child has ever said: “Wow Mom! When you explain yourself like that I can’t help but agree with you! Of course, I don’t need another Princess Fantastic doll, and of course, need and want are two entirely different things, and of course, I have enough dolls as it is. Thank you, Mom, for taking the time to help me understand all of this. You’re a really super Mom!” Now, that’s pretty silly of you, isn’t it?

Lastly, you said your daughter has a bad habit of arguing with you. I disagree. It’s YOU who has the bad habit of picking up the gauntlet whenever she throws it down. The way to not pick up the gauntlet is to (1) say “No” and nothing more; (2) When your daughter demands to know why or why not, say, “Because I said so.” And then (3) turn around and walk away, leaving your daughter to stew in her own juices. Our great-grandmothers were on to something, you know.

FAMILY PSYCHOLOGIST John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his web site at www.rosemond.com. His column is distributed by MCT Information Services.

1
Text Only
Features
  • MS_Andy Billups.jpg Local man relies on experience in July 4 emergency

    Andy Billups just happened to have gained experience as a combat zone firefighter/medic while he was serving as a civilian contractor in Iraq.
    The Edmond businessman just happened to have a friend with a place on Grand Lake where he has been viewing Independence Day fireworks for a number of years, and he just happened to be there July 4.
    And he just happened to be relaxing on a hammock when he heard a some kids making a commotion.
    Located two blocks east of Disney on State Highway 28 in the foothills of the Ozark Mountain Range in northeast Oklahoma, the 59,000-plus surface acre Grand Lake is known for its state parks, marinas, restaurants, motels and fishing.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • -1.jpg 5-year-old learns valuable lessons

    It is never too soon to learn about giving and receiving. An Edmond 5-year-old recently learned about both.
    Kendall Kingry will be entering kindergarten at Will Rogers Elementary this fall and she is already looking forward to November.
    “I get to go to Disneyland in November,” Kendall said.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • peach formatted.jpg Hard year for peaches doesn’t dampen summer tradition  

    A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they’ve come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.”
    Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, might beg to differ. Even so, Porter is known for its peaches, and every year thousands of people flood this town of about 600 residents to taste and celebrate the local crop during the three-day Peach Festival.
    Like the aging water tower, Porter’s peach industry isn’t as vibrant as it once was.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Final step to train toddler with baby on way

    Q: Using your advice, I successfully toilet-trained my daughter by age 16 months. It is now three months later and we are still using diapers at naps and nighttime. At her nap, which lasts several hours, she fully soaks her diaper. At night, she is taking off her diaper prior to falling asleep, wetting the bed after she goes to sleep and then crying for us when she wakes up in a pool of pee. Is this a sign that I should begin night training? I'm hesitant to do this because I am 8 months pregnant and don't relish the idea of waking up several times a night to take her to the bathroom and tending to a newborn as well. I would prefer to continue using diapers until she is old enough to get out of bed and take herself to the potty (even a potty in her room). Is this unrealistic? Or should I just deal with the extra night wakings and start taking her to the potty a few times a night now? If not, how do I keep her diaper on at night?

    July 25, 2014

  • Living Smart: How landscaping can deter intruders, pests

    Done right, landscaping can do much more than attract compliments and boost your property value. It can help you repel intruders, both human and natural.
    Landscaping experts who’ve earned high marks from Angie’s List members say overgrown bushes and shrubs are like welcome mats to burglars. Keep plants and trees trimmed. Place thorny but attractive bougainvillea or barberry bushes under windows, sending would-be thieves a sharp message to go elsewhere.

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-26 YARD OF THE WEEK.jpg Ganns earn Yard of the Week honors

    This week’s “Edmond Yard of the Week” winner has been in existence for 44 years at 105 Barbara Drive, but looks fresh and new thanks to longtime residents Betty and Gordon Gann as they fill their garden spaces to overflowing with colors and textures.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Discard the boredom of family game night

    We’re all about families having fun together, and game night is one of the best ways to do that. But playing the same games over and over can get a little stale. So in the interests of injecting a little more fun into your family’s game night, here are some great choices that will keep you and yours engaged and laughing.

    July 25, 2014

  • What’s normal age for voice change?

    Q: When is it normal for a boy’s voice to change? My son is 10, and his voice is getting deeper every day.
    A.: “It’s a very variable process,” says pediatrician Bonnie Miller, associate director of general pediatrics at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.. “Puberty will begin as early as age 9. Generally with the advent of puberty, the voice box changes.”

    July 25, 2014

  • IMG_2996.JPG Krazy Daze hits downtown Edmond

    Newly transplanted Edmond residents Hannah Brenning, Cheyenne Middle School 8th grader; Jordan Brenning, Cross Timbers 4th grader; and Sydney Brenning, North High School freshman; check out the items in front of Sterling's in downtown Edmond during the Krazy Daze Sale lasting through Saturday. Businesses will open their doors at 10 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Living history presented at metropolitan libraries

    Hear stories of pace setting women in different eras throughout history. Biographies of Wild West trailblazers, The Harvey Girls, WWII assembly line champion-Rosie the Riveter, mail order bride Mary Elizabeth Walker, and Oklahoma society lady Stella Louise Wilson-Johnson will be reenacted by gifted and prolific storyteller Barbara Byrd.
    Stella Louise Wilson-Johnson was the wife of a prominent Guthrie attorney who shares her experiences and adventures during the early days of Oklahoma statehood. Her presentation will be at 7 p.m. Monday, July 28, Edmond Library, 10 S. Boulevard. For more information, visit www.metrolibrary.org

    July 25, 2014