There have been times in the past when I have grown frustrated with my children... particularly the older one. One could say that I have been curt, gruff, and insensitive. Take what I like to call the "bike riding incidents" for example. They started out well enough, but always ended in me saying something like, "I'm not carrying your bike home, if you want it, you can ride it... or else we'll leave it in the park for someone else to enjoy." While reflecting on my parenting tactics, I had a hard time figuring out why my approach didn't work. Doesn't everyone like their stuff given away, especially when they're frustrated?
As a result of the biking, and other incidents, I've turned over a new leaf. No longer is it, "You're going to ride your bike, and you're going to like it!" or "You're going to throw the ball around, and you're going to like it!" Instead, I've decided to be supportive and say comforting things like, "If you desire to take a ride on a bicycle, I sincerely believe that you will receive enjoyment out of the experience." and "If you catch a baseball in your glove, there is no doubt in my mind that you will feel a sense of accomplishment and wish to continue playing catch."
Lucky for me, an opportunity soon arose to test out my plan. We live relatively close to a few outdoor ice skating rinks, which sounded like a fun family activity... and something new for Princess P to try out. We got to the rink and laced up. Princess P was getting used to walking on her skates and was ready to go, so we hit the ice. All was well in the world. I was being nice, gently coaxing Princess P into holding onto just one of my hands while I attempted to scoot her around the rink. Then it happened.
It was as if an invisible switch flipped in her head. Instantly she wanted to leave. She clutched onto my arm with a death grip, and pleaded for me to get her off the ice and back home. Up to that point, she hadn't even fallen on the ice, and I was being as kind and reassuring as can be. So what gives? Apparently when I'm mean, I don't get results, and when I'm nice... still no results. The man in me needs to fix this issue, so I'd like to pose a question.