If someone asked me what my parenting style was my response would be,
“Why, what have they done?”
Apparently there are four. (1) Authoritarian, (2) Authoritative, (3) Permissive, and (4) Uninvolved.
(source: a half-read news article whilst having cushions thrown at my head, and a quick google search).
This doesn’t help in narrowing it down for me. I can use all four in a single conversation.
(1) “You’re not playing with my phone!”
(2) “OK, but only the CBeebies app.”
(3) “Fine, play Angry Birds then.”
(4) “If you need me I’ll be having a poo!”
Now I’m not generally one to question years of academic research, but on this subject I feel I’m more than adequately qualified.
(GCSE Social Studies, grade D, 1985. One unread copy of Psychology Monthly, c.1990)
I think they’ve overlooked one. There’s a fifth way. An avant-garde style based largely on white lies. Otherwise known as the easy-life approach.
All it requires is to become a compulsive liar. Not big full-fat lies, that’d be wrong. I prefer to think of these as organic semi-skimmed untruths.
It’s an approach that so far, four years in, has served me well. There’s very few situations that can’t be resolved with a white lie. Below are just a few of my most frequently used fibs.
“It’s charging/out of battery”
Not only my phone, I’ve used this for their Nintendo DS, camera, laptop, even the hair-dryer.
For the record, I’m not sending them to bed with damp hair, I’m just preventing nightmares by stopping either of them hiding behind a door in order to blow their brother out of his skin as he walks through.
This is my stock answer to,
“What are you eating?”
It’s a risky strategy as Luca likes carrots. Luckily he has a pretentious weak spot of hummus so I always check the fridge first.
Sonny is also becoming a little suspicious of my chocolate smelling carrots so it may be time to throw him off the scent with an occasional cauliflower and sprout.
“In 5, 4, 3, 2, …..”
They don’t want me to reach zero. God help them if I get to zero! Why? I’ve no idea, even I don’t know what happens at zero? Do you? That’s not a rhetorical question, I could really do with some help here!
You see they’re getting dangerously close. I know I can still buy a little time with fractions but there will come a point when their intrigue surpasses their fear. Then what? I worry the best I have at the moment is a sheepish,
A couple of years ago Sonny thought he knew better when I told him an Indian sauce would be too hot. An hour of him choking on his own sweat and tears later and the spicy lie was born.
Ask him about the chocolate at a supermarket till and he’ll tell you it’s the spice rack. There’s little I can’t keep out of his diet thanks to the spicy lie.
Unfortunately he’s discovered he now likes curry again so I’m thinking of replacing spicy with poisonous … I’m not really.
“Maybe for Christmas/your birthday”
Thankfully their birthdays are in August so I have the full calendar year covered. Right now their memory is greater than the time until Christmas so we’re working to the birthday promise.
Come the new year we’ll revert back to Christmas.
“Mummy said no”
I’m unapologetic for this one, it’s part of my benefits package as a stay at home dad. I may not get sick pay or a holiday entitlement but I do get to use the ‘good cop, bad mummy’ card. Look, I don’t make the rules!
“Mrs Rowles said….”
Sonny’s teacher has authority by the bucket load. Her words carry far more weight than anything I can say or do, therefore anything school related and it becomes a direct Mrs Rowles quote.
“Daddy’s got work to do”
This means I’m upstairs having a nap, reading my paper, or listening to the football.
Now I’m not suggesting anyone should follow my parenting style. It may need further research into the long-term consequences and it’s highly possible that the positives will be out-weighed by the therapy bills in later life.
For now though I’m sticking with it, and if I’m still blogging in ten years time I’ll be sure to let you know the outcome.