I’m sure I’m not the only parent who despairs at their kids – at least those who have learnt to adequately express themselves and who show some ability to think rationally – apparently considering crying as an adequate response to any problem they encounter. It drives me nuts sometimes! And I have less and less patience for it as Ella grows older.
When I found Ella in tears last night when I returned from doing something outside, I first thought something “serious” had happened. Something that I should have been there for, right near her. You can hear the guilt process starting, can’t you. So when I finally managed to decipher her sob-soaked explanation and realised that she was only crying because the computer she was playing a game on “did something wrong”, I was NOT happy. I quickly decided that for once I did not want to resort to speaking angrily, or yet again trying to explain to her that crying never fixes anything, that every problem has a solution and that crying prevents us from thinking straight and therefor coming up with an effective course of action; only for her to then defend herself with the standard “but I forgot”. No, it was time again for a dose of sarcasm. Not in the least because it makes ME feel better.
So my response to Ella’s crying over her computer game disappearing was to say – in a sugar-sweet voice: “Oh! Did the naughty computer make you cry? I can fix that right away”. I walked over to the computer, sat down and… switched it off. “There, the naughty computer has gone to sleep and can not make you cry anymore.”
I must say that the reaction I got from her was not as strong as I’d expected. I think she was too stunned. I also believe that – after initially thinking that I really totally misunderstood her (oh how ignorant grown-ups can be!) – she recognised my twisted version of the natural consequences tactic.
The end does justify the means sometimes. With the stress on mean mum.