Today, I want to share a very succinct, very simple, and very important bit of parenting advice I got from an unlikely source when my first child was a toddler.Rather read than watch? Click here.
– Hi, I’m Dana. Welcome to this weeks video.
You know, there was a time in my early parenthood, where I got the single best piece of advice that I have ever, to this day gotten, and it came from my dentist. I took my son in for his check up.
He was about one, right, that’s when they’re getting some teeth and you go in for a check-up, and I’m having a discussion with the dentist and I say “Oh, he just hates to get his teeth brushed. He fights me, he doesn’t like it. We tend to skip it because it’s such a drama”.
And I’m telling him this sad story, and he is just looking at me very calmly and when I’m done, he looks at me and he says, “So what?”. And those two words kinda changed my life, really. I started to think, so what, and he says, “So what, he has to brush his teeth.
Brushing teeth is a non-negotiable, it has to be. So, you’re gonna have to brush his teeth whether he likes it or not. And that was my first little snap shot into, “Oh, I’m actually in charge here.” Right, I, actually, am the boss of this relationship. And so I went home that night with my new found freedom, said, so what, he doesn’t like it, that’s okay.
So what I did with him then, is I said, I used two different words. I used “easy way” or “hard way”. And now he’s one. But absolutely, one year-olds can understand. Their understanding is so high, higher than what we give them credit for. So, I would give him the tooth brush and let him have a go. Right, because that’s what they love. They love to sort of chew on it and play with it himself. So, he went first, then now it’s mommy’s turn. And we can do this the easy way or the hard way.
The easy way, is you open your mouth, mommy gets in there real quick with the tooth brush, and does what needs to be done, and we’re finished. Or the hard way is where now mommy has to hold your mouth, and hold your head, and you cry, and I’ve got to get in there anyway and brush your teeth. Which way to do you want to do this?
And absolutely, the hard way was the way for days. Right? Days, because he didn’t really understand yet what I was talking about. But as time went on, when I said easy way or hard way, he would pick the easy way. Now, he didn’t actually say the words “easy way”, he wasn’t that much of a genius. But he would open his mouth, right, and I would get in there, and I would be quick, and do what I need to do and I would say, “All done, easy way”. Now, I applied that same approach to a lot of things, like getting out of the bath tub, “Do you want to do that the easy way, or the hard way?”. Sunscreen, “Shall we do it the easy way or the hard way?”. The things that have to happen regardless, right?
Either the easy way or the hard way. And your child will start to pick the easy way, because they’ll understand that this is happening whether I like it or not. I might as well pick the easy way because it’s faster I don’t have to cry, I don’t have to throw a fit. She gets it done as fast as she can and we are on with our day. So, if your child doesn’t like it, so what.
Thanks for watching today. Sleep well.
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