Damn Multiple Disjunctions
As you move along into the trial-and-error based world of first-time child-rearing (wow, that’s a lot of hyphens), you pick up a couple of ‘best practices’ that pertain to getting your child to do what it is you want them to do. Not surprisingly, this gets harder as time goes on and the little buggers get more complicated in design. You use one technique, it works for a while, and then before you know it, like the Borg the kid has “adapted” to your method and it doesn’t work anymore. Then you’re left having to invent a new technique. More below.
Parker today “adapted” to one of my favorite techniques: the either/or. The technique is simple, and all parents know it well. There’s an option A that you want them to choose. You can’t just dictate to them to do A, the buggers have too much of a fetish for autonomy for that. So you select another alternative, B, which is something you know that will seem worse to them than A (it can’t be too bad, just bad enough to do the trick). Once you’ve figured B out, you present the option, the “illusion of choice.” You say “well, it’s either A or B.” The child picks A, and everyone is happy.
But today it was different. I said, “well, it’s A or B” and Parker (who will be 3 this month) said, “It’s A or B, or C” where C was an option she vastly preferred to A and B. She then selected C as the option for herself and walked away, seeming very self-satisfied.
Three years old and already she’s on to the false dilemma. Grrr! I was hoping I’d get more time out of that one.