Her interpretation: Call 911, get sticker.
October 12, 2018 10:48 AM   Subscribe

 
yeah, ok, I laughed.

I told her if she didn’t put her hat on she would have to wait in the car. She started walking away from me. “Where are you going?” “Car.”

Yeah, don't give options that you don't want to actually deal with.

Kids are terrible and calculating so the best bet is low-key authoritarianism and cutting off discussions fairly quickly. And talk about something else - if kids (of all ages) want to do anything, it's usually to talk. (yes, not every kid is the same, save me the stories of your glorious childhood of voluntary mutism). But a lot of arguing comes out of a fairly basic desire to talk and creating conflict to have something to talk about. Your kids will indeed talk until your ears bleed so you might as well beat them to the punch.

Told my children they should always have a good reason for what they want to do, as a way to curb impulsive behavior.

Am hearing about ALL THE REASONS constantly.


yep.
posted by GuyZero at 10:55 AM on October 12, 2018 [8 favorites]


save me the stories of your glorious childhood of voluntary mutism

OMG there are almost infinite layers of irony inside that
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:11 AM on October 12, 2018 [14 favorites]


don't give options that you don't want to actually deal with.

I give this advice to every new parent. My son, like his father sadly, is a master at finding loopholes so it is always best to keep things concise otherwise... CHAOS!
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:14 AM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


My son, at the time 2, was enrolled in a gymnastics class. They did a lot of gross body movements, including running, hopping, bear crawls, etc.

We were going to the store, and he had a nasty habit of tearing off at full speed to find the toy section. He insisted on not being carried and not being in the cart, and so to avoid a tantrum, I admonished him as we crossed the parking lot. "Do not run away from me. If you run away, I will put you in the cart." "OK daddy."

As soon as we entered the store, he bolts, in a strange, arrythmic stride. I catch him, eventually, and begin a scolding - he cuts me off.

"I not run. I galloped"

What could I say?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:15 AM on October 12, 2018 [20 favorites]


Ah yes. I avoided many of these because my kid was, and remains, utterly unmotivated by toys, money, or trips to fun places.

When he was little, we just had to say "because we said so," because there was no other bargain available. We did try to provide some reasons (sleep is good for you!) because that worked. Sometimes. And we picked our battles.

His only motivation, once he got one, was "we're taking away your computer/phone." So we kept that one for special occasions. On small things, we often let him make his case and changed our minds if he put some effort into it. The only things we truly didn't budge on were related to his safety, to basic politeness/grooming/cleanliness, and to treating other people with respect and kindness.

However, I did discover that the ol' reverse psychology trick worked on him for a surprisingly long time. If I said I didn't want him to do something, he would immediately want to do it more. Or if I said he wasn't able to, he'd want to Prove Me Wrong. I felt like this was completely transparent and he'd figure it out any day now, but he's 12 and I gotta tell ya; sometimes it still works.

Kids: I don't know, man.
posted by emjaybee at 11:16 AM on October 12, 2018 [21 favorites]


Mom was constantly telling me she was going to send me away. Mental institution, foster home, or just some vague “somewhere else to live,” a week didn't go by when she didn't say it at least two or three times. I had no idea it's just something people say; every morning I woke up wondering if it was going to be the day I went away. One day when I was maybe seven, I asked her, “Did you find a place yet?”

“What place?”

“Yesterday, you said this time you were finally going to find another place for me to live. Did you find it?”

She practically collapsed into her chair. She gave me a really long apology, and she never said it again. It was… a very confusing time.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:19 AM on October 12, 2018 [65 favorites]


1) I thought this was going to be about older kids, like when my mother tried to ground my sister, but since she worked all day, my sister just snuck out anyway.

2) Adults do this too, not just kids. I tried managing people at work once, it wasn't pleasant.
posted by Melismata at 11:22 AM on October 12, 2018 [6 favorites]


My parents did the thing where they gave 4-year-old me a sip of Budweiser under the impression that I could say that it was yucky

I was carrying my then-two-year-old through a crowded street fair while holding a beer in the other hand. She jammed her arm into the cup, up to the elbow, pulled it out, and proceeded to lick it off. My hands were full, and I couldn't do anything about it. She was delighted and did it once or twice more before I could get her to stop.

She's since decided that beer is gross, but a few weeks ago we were at a restaurant when she picked up her lemonade and declared, "Let's pretend that this is my beer, okay? I have a beer." Loud enough for everybody around us to hear. I said, sure, sure, that's fine, and promptly forgot about it.

A few minutes later, she picked up the cup again, took a big sip and, at the absolute top of her lungs, declared, "Ahhh, my beer is so delicious!" It turned heads. I was embarrassed.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:23 AM on October 12, 2018 [39 favorites]


I was very young when I thought my mother's gin and tonic was a glass of Fresca, and took a big swallow of it. Quinine! Beloved by kids in every decade.
posted by thelonius at 11:27 AM on October 12, 2018 [19 favorites]


My parents taught me to call 911 when I saw somebody doing something illegal. I called the cops on the Wiggles movie I was watching when I was 5 because a clown stole a cake. l

I should not of been reading that while in the middle of drinking water. Legit started choking with laughter.
posted by littlesq at 11:36 AM on October 12, 2018 [21 favorites]


My oldest saw me eating a cookie and asked for one too. I reminded her that she had to have her lunch first. Without a moments hesitation, she informed me that she ate her lunch yesterday.

She got her cookie.
posted by dr_dank at 11:40 AM on October 12, 2018 [23 favorites]


Without a moments hesitation, she informed me that she ate her lunch yesterday.

"Can I have some Cheez-Its?"
"No, you can have an apple. You haven't eaten any fruit today."
"I haven't eaten any Cheez-Its today either."
"...I can't argue with that. Have some Cheez-Its."
posted by Etrigan at 11:50 AM on October 12, 2018 [8 favorites]


Our son had a habit of taking rocks from places. Like decorative or gravel or whatever.

So we're getting into the car and he grabs a rock from a flower bed and refuses to leave it behind.

We explained that the rock lived in the flower bed and his family would miss him if he didn't put him back.

So he went and gathered up all of the other rocks from the flowerbed and told us "There, now he won't be lonely"
posted by Lord_Pall at 11:53 AM on October 12, 2018 [37 favorites]


Dad wasn’t having it and insisted they could not leave the table until all the food on their plate was gone. My sibling finished the last few bites and then proceeded to vomit on the table and our dad.

When I was 6, I went on my first visit to my grandparents who lived a few hundred miles away, to stay with them for a week. Every week, for many years, they would go on Wednesday to the local pizza shop in the town for spaghetti and meatball. Said meatball was particularly large, so that one was sufficient for a plate. When dinner was served, it was a massive pile of noodles along with said gigantic meatball. Six year old me immediately started in on the meatball.

"NO NO!" my grandmother shouted. "You have to eat all the spaghetti before you can have the meatball". This was a strange demand, but they were my grandparents, and I was still a good kid at that point, so I went along with them. Sure enough, I couldn't possibly eat the plate of noodles, so I ate none of the meatball. No worries, I probably could take it home, just like I've done with my parents before. My grandfather says "are you done?". The words hadn't even made it out of my mouth "I can't eat anymore. I'm sad I can't eat any of the"

And my piece of shit grandfather proceeds to steal the meatball from my plate and shove it in his gluttonous face. The cheap fucker could have bought another meatball, but would prefer to steal it from his six year old grandson. I learned something new that day: Betrayal.

When I was 7, I went on my second visit to my grandparents who lived a few hundred miles away, to stay with them for a week. Sure as shit, on Wednesday we went back to the same pizza place. Three spaghetti dinners were ordered. Three gigantic meatballs, one to each plate. Once again, my grandmother and grandfather joined in on their collective goal of taking my meatball again. "You have to eat all of the noodles before you can eat the meatball," still knowing full well that a seven year old shouldn't be able to take down that plate.

I'm proud to say that I inhaled that plate of spaghetti. It hurt. I knew I was unwell before the end of the noodles, but I wouldn't give either of them the satisfaction. "Are you sure you aren't full?" Yes, you horrible old woman, I am 100% sure I'm eating this meatball. No, you horrible old man, the one too cheap to pay $1.50 for a second meatball to fill your ever-increasing gut, you can't have any. You had your own already. I don't think the meatball was even that good. I seem to remember it being flavorless, and I didn't really want to eat it. I simply wanted to make sure that pig wouldn't have a chance to taste even the tiniest bit of what was mine.

I puked in their new convertible on the ride home. The sauce stained the leather. I wasn't invited back again.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:53 AM on October 12, 2018 [167 favorites]


A heartwarming tale of a child's revenge against his chiseling grandparents!
posted by thelonius at 11:57 AM on October 12, 2018 [38 favorites]


MetaFilter: if he was old enough to use logic, he was far too old for diapers, and that was the end of that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:59 AM on October 12, 2018 [6 favorites]


When he was little, we just had to say "because we said so," because there was no other bargain available. We did try to provide some reasons (sleep is good for you!) because that worked. Sometimes. And we picked our battles.

With my sister and me, most of the time we just honestly didn't like having our parents be unhappy with us. It was enough for us to know that they were happy when we did what they wanted and they were unhappy when we didn't. I guess that made us some kind of little freaks.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:04 PM on October 12, 2018 [7 favorites]


The take-home message seems to be not, "kids are funny," but rather, "parents are assholes." That kids find small, technical ways to rebel when you force them to finish their plates when they're not hungry, go to bed when they're not sleepy, or wear hats when it's hot out and they don't want to wear hats, isn't surprising. You're lucky they don't stab you in the eye while you sleep, you domineering sociopaths. If you treated your friends like you treat your kids, you wouldn't have any friends.

(Okay, to be fair, a few of these are actually pretty funny.)
posted by eotvos at 12:12 PM on October 12, 2018 [10 favorites]


I puked in their new convertible on the ride home. The sauce stained the leather. I wasn't invited back again.

*applause*
posted by Omnomnom at 12:12 PM on October 12, 2018 [6 favorites]


„Do you want to be mommy‘s little helper?“
„...no.“
posted by Omnomnom at 12:13 PM on October 12, 2018 [5 favorites]


With my sister and me, most of the time we just honestly didn't like having our parents be unhappy with us. It was enough for us to know that they were happy when we did what they wanted and they were unhappy when we didn't. I guess that made us some kind of little freaks.

I was this kid. My son is... not.

Like, on the one hand it's awesome that basically no one can influence how he feels about himself--he is a fully self-contained little unit of unflappable joy. On the other hand, at the age of 6 he does occasionally need to be influenced by adults in how to feel about himself given various choices he's made, because that's how you have a civilization. It's complicated.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:16 PM on October 12, 2018 [19 favorites]


We were trying to teach our first child not to throw his plate of food to the ground during meals. We got the message through to him: if you throw your plate, then dinner is over. No more food for you.

So of course he learned that when he'd had enough of sitting at the table, he could—without warning—swipe his plate to the floor, announcing, "Done eating!"
posted by lostburner at 12:22 PM on October 12, 2018 [16 favorites]


Oh my GOSH Typechip and the hand-holding rules-lawyering.

Typechip haaaaates holding hands - we've finally gotten him to do it most of the time because he's realized that big trucks are -scary- but if we're not on the sidewalk near cars, he still tries to get out of it. And because my son is a junior master at complying with the words we say not the intent we mean - well...

Rule version 1: You have to hold hands when we cross the street.
What we wanted: He holds one of our hands.
What we got: He holds his own two hands together.

Version 2: You have to hold mommy or daddy's hand
Result: Demands that Papa (his grandfather) call us to come over and hold his hand because he can't cross the street without holding mommy or daddy's hand.

Version 3: You have to hold a grown-up's hand.
Result: Tries to hold the hand of his Spider-Man action figure.

Version 4: You have to hold a real live grown-up's hand, not a toy.
Result: Tries to hold the dog's paw at daycare.

Version 5: You have to hold a grown-up person that you know's hand, not a toy or an animal or a stranger.
Result: While taking pictures with Spider-Man at Disneyland asks if he'll hold his hand to cross the street. Because "Mommy I know Spider-Man, he's a superhero!"
(Side result, ALSO did this to Thor, later - who was crossing the street himself, and Thor -did- walk across the street with us at Disneyland)

So mostly he's over it, and holds hands, but man, that was kind of a ride there for a while.
posted by FritoKAL at 12:31 PM on October 12, 2018 [41 favorites]


I was this kid. My son is... not.

It really is amazing how different individual kids are out of the box. I mean, it shouldn't be amazing? But it is!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:35 PM on October 12, 2018 [7 favorites]


Daddy can't cross the street unless you hold his hand. Poor scared daddy.

We have to put that rock back, or else the rock mama can't find her baby again.

Looking back, my most successful parenting is all about vigorous abuse of empathy.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 12:39 PM on October 12, 2018 [42 favorites]


I have twins and we really drove the hand-holding lesson into them when they were small due to the logistical nightmare of crossing the street with multiple small children (we lived in Boston at the time and walked everywhere). When they were about 3 we went to a botanical garden and we told them they could go on the paths all by themselves. My son was excited but kept walking around with his hands clasped awkwardly in front of him. When I asked him why he told me “I’m holding my own hand.”
posted by q*ben at 12:39 PM on October 12, 2018 [13 favorites]


r/MaliciousCompliance
posted by lalochezia at 12:43 PM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Two words: Malicious Compliance
posted by el io at 12:54 PM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


You're lucky they don't stab you in the eye while you sleep, you domineering sociopaths. If you treated your friends like you treat your kids, you wouldn't have any friends.

I'm not sure how much tongue is being held in cheek here but kids make terrible choices and as a parent you have ethical responsibilities to them you don't have to your friends.

My wife (who teaches in high school) has kids who come in on time and sleep through every class because they're up all night playing video games. They are not technically breaking the rules about skipping class. I think most of those kids have complicated situations and this isn't meant to be a slam on their parents, but just an example of the hard fact that kids make terrible fucking choices. And they're literally incompetent. a six year-old in a kitchen full of food may well starve to death left to their own devices. And if one of my friends decided to just piss themselves at the dinner table because they wanted a sticker I wouldn't invite them over any more. Kids are terrorists that you're not allowed to kill. Or even ask to leave. Or hit. Or complain about to their faces.

On the plus side they're terrorists without any coherent ideology who are also the worst negotiators ever.
posted by GuyZero at 1:02 PM on October 12, 2018 [30 favorites]


Children are the absolute masters of malicious compliance.

Oh dear, I think I've just realized why haunting r/Malicious Compliance is my guilty pleasure:  it appeals to my inner toddler. That line explains so much.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 1:05 PM on October 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


This isn't malicious, it's literal! The kid holding his own hand, or holding the dog's paw, probably actually believes he's within the bounds of the rules. Why would he know different? It's experiences _like these_ that teach kids not to take language so literally.

That this kind of thing is framed as malicious is deeply disturbing to me.

Older kids, maybe, sure. But was scolded a lot by people who thought I was being willful, when I truly didn't know better, in my _teenage_ years -- I didn't have the same experiences as other kids, I guess, but more likely: sometimes people are just primed to see enmity and malice when there isn't any.
posted by amtho at 3:01 PM on October 12, 2018 [8 favorites]


My recollection of being below teen-age was that most if not all of my adherence based on "taking things literally" was willful malicious compliance.
posted by Nec_variat_lux_fracta_colorem at 3:56 PM on October 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


sometimes people are just primed to see enmity and malice when there isn't any.

Your comment brings to mind the immortal words of Ian Fleming:

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.

If the conversation starts: "Hold my hand" and the kid says no and then you make up some rando rule "Everyone needs to hold their parent's hand crossing the street" and the kid insists you go get their grandparent, I mean, sure, maybe the kid is a literal-minded angel looking out for you or maybe they're a fucking tiny rules lawyer out to not hold your hand through any means necessary, possibly including killing themselves by bolting in to the street because cf. my earlier point, kids make terrible decisions.
posted by GuyZero at 4:01 PM on October 12, 2018 [20 favorites]


"That this kind of thing is framed as malicious is deeply disturbing to me."

Uh, this is actually -my- kid, since I made the comment and he is not being framed as malicious by anyone actually involved in this, so could people please lay off?

IDK how anyone found my post of the same incident to that subreddit (and maybe the two comments pointing out the subreddit right after mine are coincidental, but it's literally my highest rated reddit post, so, idek) but that is just a little creepy and also the title of the subreddit doesn't actually mean every single post to it is considered malicious.

I like the term mischievous compliance myself - and in this case, ooh boy, Typechip is full of mischief and it is DELIGHTFUL.
posted by FritoKAL at 4:05 PM on October 12, 2018 [8 favorites]


(Also Guy Zero, we actually specifically avoided "Everyone should hold their mom or dad's head crossing the street" because we KNEW if we did Typechip would someday say "Call Mimi, Call Papa, Call Wawa, for holding hands." because he's a delightful little rules lawyer)
posted by FritoKAL at 4:09 PM on October 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


And let me add this (not that you have a choice, ha ha): kids really want to make decisions. It is one of the most basic human impulses, autonomy. It's the literal keystone of the several adolescent philosophical movements. And I think most of them want to make good decisions. But, and this is the sad part, wanting to make good decisions has very little bearing on whether your half-grown five (8, 10, pick a number) year-old brain is actually capable of making good decisions.

That said I think that parenting should be upbeat, so it's not really in anyone's interest to tell kids "hey, I love you, but you make terrible fucking decisions so just do everything I tell you to, ok?" not to mention most kids fundamentally don't agree even if they understand what the hell you're taking about.
posted by GuyZero at 4:10 PM on October 12, 2018 [5 favorites]


When I was between age 5 and 10 I was "gifted" and my parents enrolled me in a bunch of music lessons. I played the violin for a while and then the guitar. I was in the church choir.

My mom was always making jokes about how "I scared away all the snakes in the yard playing the violin." I read the Christmas letter she sent out one year when I was 7 or 8 and the blurb about me was that "I couldn't carry a tune in a basket." My guitar teacher always asked me to sing and of course choir was all singing so I had to quit them both.

Now, over 40 years later, my sister's kids are both really talented musicians. I was talking to my mom about them and their talent and she said, "well they certainly didn't get that talent from my genes." I pointed out that their mom probably never made a joke to everyone on the Christmas list that her kids couldn't carry a tune in a basket.

We had a come-to-jesus moment and she actually apologized.
posted by bendy at 8:32 PM on October 12, 2018 [20 favorites]


The Underpants Monster: your story reminds me of how as a kid my mum would go on and on about how if she hadn't followed my dad when he migrated she would be on BBC or CNN right now (she had a budding career as a radio host/newscaster type in their home country before they moved). I always felt really bad about it because I was born after they migrated and it felt like I was the reason she didn't have her media career. Like if I wasn't born, she'd be free to fulfil her dreams, so it's my fault.

I'm not sure what got her to stop (and whether it has anything to do with me feeling bad at all because that hasn't necessarily stopped her with other things) and now I'm the one with the interesting media career so she lives vicariously through me sometimes.
posted by divabat at 5:54 PM on October 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


thelonius: "I was very young when I thought my mother's gin and tonic was a glass of Fresca, and took a big swallow of it. Quinine! Beloved by kids in every decade."

This happened to me when I thought something was a glass of milk. I haven't tasted eggnog again since.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:46 PM on October 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Ashwagandha: laughed when my sister-in-law told me that her daughter, my niece, when told not to hit her older siblings said "I'm not hitting... I'm sssmmmaaaacckkking!" (her emphasis ofc)
posted by gkr at 8:55 PM on October 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Spouse is fond of swearing. She swears often, and unapologetically.
One usual expletive is to shout at son or daughter to clean their respective rooms, because the room is "a fucking disgrace."

Notwithstanding the amount of swearing in the house, I swear infrequently and try to run a no-swear policy for the children, which they get, and know swearing is verboten.

When son was about 5, his grandmother, prim and very proper came to take him on an adventure, and drove her car to our house. She drives rarely, and her car is essentially an extended giant handbag, with the back seats full of stuff- packages and parcels and books and things she cannot be bothered about.

On opening the back door son exclaims:
"grandma, your car is a fucking disgrace!"
Grandma recoils in shock, son sees the shock and offers apologetically:
"but only on the inside"
posted by Plutocratte at 6:35 PM on October 14, 2018 [12 favorites]


Plutocratte, I am now reaping the whirlwind of my salty language. Like your wife, I swear like a sailor who gives swearing lessons to bikers. I am fairly convinced that "fuck" can be swapped in for every grammatical section of a simple declarative sentence. I'll be honest, since most of my friends use similar language, I don't think I really grasped how shocking it was to most people, until my teenager started using it.

It really bothered me. I'm not sure why, because it doesn't offend me when other people do it, but we had to institute a "No Fucks, except sometimes" rule. So, example "My bus driver is a fucking moron." is out, whereas dropping a hammer on one's foot and releasing a loud "FUCK!" does not require donation to the fucking fuck jar.

But the rule applies to everyone, not just him. I'm trying very hard to retrain myself to make my point without resorting to swearing.

It's fucking hard, y'all.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:35 AM on October 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


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