How NOT to tame a tyrant in seven easy steps


Step One
Tell kids that if they throw food, they don’t get to eat it.
Kids throw vegetables on the floor SO THAT they don’t have to eat them.

Step Two
Tell kids that when they throw food on the floor the meal is over and they get down from the table.
Inevitably kids are hungry later and ask for cocoa puffs. So you put them back at the table and re-propose the same meal. One bite later food is thrown, down from the table, still hungry, re-propose, and one bite later… an endless cycle of grazing is born.

Step Three
Negotiate, for each bite of vegetables you get one cocoa puff.
Kids scream for more cocoa puffs.

Step Four
Give options, eating vegetables is not an option but you can choose between zucchini and green beans.
Kids learn that if they scream Mom will search the cupboards until she finds something they like.

Step Five
Don’t yield.
Inevitably kids are hungry at bedtime and the little coup d’etat has succeeded in changing your family schedule to meet their whim.

Step Six
Put kids to bed without dinner.
Kids scream for cocoa puffs for two hours straight. Of course they’re not going to cry themselves to sleep, they’re hungry.

Step Seven
At eleven pm parents can’t sleep because kids can’t sleep, because kids are hungry and screaming for cocoa puffs.
Kids get the sweetened cereal enriched milk they’ve been begging for all day and go to bed happy.
Parents who are already beyond exhaustion and at the brink of tears can finally enjoy the calm and quiet but instead fall promptly asleep only to wake up and fight this battle again the next day, or admit they’re the tyrants being tamed after all.

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