Friday, December 16, 2011

The Look and the 1-2-3

 OK, this is what I want you to do.  First, click on The Inspired Housewife's blog so you know what I am talking about, then come right back.....

......back already?

So, Diane asks if you use "The Look".  I think most of us, mothers or not, have a look we give to our children or spouses.  Am I right?

The reason I wanted to discuss this is because when I read her blog it reminded me of a parenting nugget I have to share.  It's not original but I used it so consistently that the results were nothing short of amazing.

Young parents, listen up.  Once you have perfected the look, a good one that gets your child's attention, you need to get your fingers in on the action.  You should probably practice this technique in private first, when you are not under stress.  That way it will come quite naturally as a follow-up to your "look" in an actual live-action situation.  In fact, I'd suggest you practice the "look" in front of the mirror in case you are a bit unsure of yourself.

Here's how it goes.  You do something stern with your mouth.  I think I kind of tighten my lips, raise my eyebrows and then pull them together.  It's good if you can refrain from blinking but if not, just be sure it is a long and slow blink that is loaded with disappointment.  Then make very, very direct eye contact with your offspring.  You say something like, "You'd better get down from there before I count to 3."  That's when the fingers jump in.  It is important that this begins at home when you are able to sternly count out loud, 1-2-3, as you pop the appropriate number of fingers to correlate with your count.  Don't count too fast.  At "3", a consequence must take place.  I usually put the child in time-out, or at least that was my plan.  This process began when our kids were really little and by the time they were 4 or 5 I don't think they even remembered what happened at "3".  They knew it was something they wanted to avoid and they corrected their behavior by "2".

The beauty of this simple technique was that I could do it in public with no one being aware except my child.  In church I could just catch their eye and raise 1 finger, 2 at the most.  Noise stopped.  It was like magic.

Here's the funniest part of it.  I still use it on Sam!

Sam is about 6'4" tall.  He still hates to see the fingers!  It's really rather funny to me.  I've no idea what I'd do now if I ever got to "3", but it doesn't really matter.

Now, if only I could get it to work on Bode...

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