Terror threat level: Bright F*&%ing RED

And total melt down in 3, 2, 1.....

And total melt down in 3, 2, 1…..

So everyone knows that the US Government does not negotiate with terrorists. Do you know why? The official answer is that we have to remain firm in the face of irrational threats. The real reason…..they aren’t Moms. You send a mom into a cave in the middle of Afghanistan and she will drag them out by the ears and have them begging for forgiveness. Want to know how she could accomplish such an unbelievable feat? BECAUSE SHE DOES IT DAILY!!!! EVERY SINGLE GOD DAMN DAY! If you have a child capable of coherent speech, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Go ahead, tell me how your child never behaves in such a manner, how you are bringing them up to properly express themselves, blah blah blah. Tell me that to my face and I will call you a bold-faced liar to your face. Every child does this. and they do it for no more profound reason other than that they can. Actually I take that back. Bean has the full emotional range of a fully grown and mentally developed adult. The problem is her tiny body and the fact that she is still emotionally developing. She has nowhere for such intense energy to go other than out of her normally sweet mouth. Now that very rational explanation will easily get lost in the heat of the moment when your child(and mine) is screaming at such a pitch that dogs down the street are writhing in pain from the octaves your “well-behaved, properly expressive” child is hitting in the midst of their utter catastrophic collapse of order in their tiny lives.

Bingo! That’s the key right there. Children have a much smaller universe than we do. They have their toys, maybe some small chores, and their own adult to do things for them like wipe their ass, or get them yet another snack because in a moment of parenting genius you had the poor foresight to put the snacks out of reach in an effort to prevent over snacking(on a side-note, you’ll be moving those snacks soon, and the cereal, and whatever else your tiny tyrant wants just so it gives you 3 more minutes of sitting down uninterrupted). Children love to feel that their universe is in order and they have some control over it, just like we do. How do you feel when things start going wrong? It can get aggravating and at times it can even ruin your mood. Well that’s what happens, except for them its the fact that the dog chewed Twilight Sparkle Fancypants Mcgee, or that *gasp* you asked your kid to pick up their stuff. To your pint-sized opressor, shit just got real. And this is where your SWAT worthy negotiation skills suddenly kick in. Let me break it down for you.

1. Appeasement: you will try(to no avail) to appease said child. You will only attempt this tactic so many times before you realize why this is never successful in the movies, because the bad guys(and your child) just want to watch the world burn at this point. Think I’m exaggerating? Just wait……

2. Rational discussion of terms: yeah this step lasts all of 30 seconds………you will offer your terms, you will get an answer. Just not the one you want. It will more than likely be a scream in your face, or a 40 pound force of nature storming off, leaving a trail of destruction in her path(not that this has ever happened to me).

3. Irrational discussion of terms: This is one of the most defining moments in the dynamic between you and your child. If you make a threat, be prepared to follow through. And please, for the love of things holy to your sanity, do not threaten any punishment you yourself cannot live with. If you threaten to take away TV….remember, that’s time your child will expect you to fill in the gap. For teenagers, if you threaten to take away their car, be prepared to be a taxi again.

4. Duck & F*&%ing Cover: At this point the household pets are probably hiding and the neighbors think there is an exorcism going on. Your terms(threats) have been heard and you have probably received counter terms(threats) in the way of one or more of the following: “I hate you/I love {other parent} more; you’re a mean mommy!; Fine I don’t want said object(you know, the “treasured” object you are holding hostage like a Mexican drug lord in the hopes that your loving offspring will listen to reason) and other choice phrases of that nature.

5. Watching their resolve crumble like a Keebler cookie: Once you get the yelling, threats, speaking in tongues and whatever else it takes out of the way, watch them give in and grudgingly do what you asked to begin with, albeit glaring at you, and even making this annoying sound that you thought you wouldn’t have to deal with until puberty…..”Hhmpf”. Bean does this when she realizes she’s losing ground in her argument. You may think at this point you have won the war, and you smile to yourself, even high five your partner. Don’t get cocky yet, they have 1 more weapon in their arsenal and they are definitely not afraid to use it….

6. Kid Guilt: Please excuse the expletives here….Fuck this fucking shit!! Kid Guilt is awful! I’d rather be water-boarded or have my fingernails ripped off! After your kid has done what you asked and calmed down and had a few minutes to themselves to decompress, they will come to you, crawl up in your lap teary-eyed and distraught. Why? Because they say things in the heat of the moment just like we do and that because of their outburst they fear that their vice-grip hold on you will loosen. And while they are pleading your forgiveness for what they said,hitting you right in the Mommy-Feels,  they are also cementing their place in your heart for the next go around. Now as time goes on, you will become impervious to the things kids say out of spite or anger, but watch out for that kid guilt. Its the emotional equivalent of a box of fluffy puppies and in their eyes forgives
the recent transgressions. Did they mean whatever insult they threw at you? No, of course not. But they still feel bad for saying it. Kid guilt is also their way of expressing that what you said hurt their feelings and they are seeking an apology from you as well 🙂

When the smoke has cleared and the damage has been assessed, make sure your kid knows you love them and that feelings can be hurt by words as well as actions. And be prepared to repeat these steps over & over & over & over again well into their teenage years and if you’re lucky enough, even longer 😉

‘Til next time!