I know this will sound totally crazy - maybe borderline absurd - but I will often times ask something of one of my kids nicely the first time and then my tone changes with each subsequent request, until finally, I am close to yelling. And that is when they will finally make their move to comply. So, have you ever considered that in using that particular ‘technique’ you are training your kids that they only need to respond when your tone ‘means business?’
I have become hyper-aware of this issue with my youngest kiddo who is approaching his second birthday. He has become a ferret and is in to absolutely everything and he is constantly testing and pushing me – intentionally. He will get really quiet and I know he has found something or gotten into something that HE knows he isn’t supposed to. When I catch up to him he is either waiting for me with cupboard open or holding a spray bottle or he is already at work with his spoils. At any rate, I tell him ‘no’ more and more and he doesn’t respond until I get very firm. So I am totally training him to only react when mom loses her cool.
I realized that this is why Jim Fay of ‘Love and Logic’ has you sing the ‘Uh Oh’ song. It shows them that you are in complete control and they now get to lose out on whatever naughtiness they are in the middle of. This takes effort on our part because then we have to actually DO something about it right off the bat if we do mean business. And if you are wondering what the ‘Uh Oh’ song is, google it in connection with Love and Logic but it goes a little something like this:
Uh oh! Uh oh! A little bedroom time coming up. So sad! I’ll see you when you are sweet!
Keep your cool by using certain phrases – ‘No problem!’ or ‘Not to worry!’ for the older ones while you collect your composure and decide on a plan and use the ‘Uh Oh’ song or a pleasant tone when you time them out to their room or have them do time in a corner or simply remove them from the high chair if they are throwing food! Keep yourself chill when things get nuts so your kids know that you mean business from the get go and not just when you get mad or you start yelling.