Any mother will tell you that manipulation is a bedrock of parenting. Sometimes we manipulate the little rugrats and quite a few times they manipulate us successfully and store that away for future reference of what works on the life-givers.
This is what works with T.O quite well: If I need him to do something that he’s going to whine about, I just ask him to do something else he’ll whine about even more thereby making the earlier task more attractive in comparison.
This morning I needed him to keep all the bottles filled and make sure we all had enough water to drink and there were enough bottles in the fridge too. My child, like MANY kids, drinks up the cold water and leaves the empty bottles outside or forgets to replace them with filled bottles which are within hands reach.
When I asked him to fill up the bottles and he whined…”why do I have to fill up the bottles again???? I just did it yesterday??!!!” I could’ve told him, like I often do, that he’d had screen time yesterday too so why did he find it essential to charge at me like a stampeding rhino and get me to unlock Netflix so many times a day.
Instead I asked him to grab a peeler and get started on the potatoes for our lunch. Lo and behold! There was a beautiful line of water bottles filled to the brim within seconds!
P.S: For those puzzled by the three Oriental men trying to look sinister; they are a reference this book by the author referenced above- Sun Tzu