Recently I had a conversation with a co-worker who told me, in dealing with his 6 month-old daughter – who was screaming and crying uncontrollably because she wasn’t getting what she wanted – that he was calmly rocking her to sleep, and gently telling her, “You won’t outlast me, Sweety.”
I absolutely LOVED IT.
Let me explain by telling you about a scene from the movie, Jurassic Park.
In Jurassic Park there was a scene where the guys who are charged with keeping the dinosaurs safe – and the people safe at the same time – are discussing how smart the Velociraptors are. Their example was that the Velociraptors were systematically testing the fences in which they are caged in different areas to find weaknesses and how they KEEP ON testing and KEEP ON testing and KEEP ON testing until…
Well, the fact is, in the movie, the Velociraptors NEVER stop testing their boundaries until they eventually escape and gain way too much control of the island.
Here’s the point. Kids are like Velociraptors in that they constantly test their boundaries. AND they are like Velociraptors in that they KEEP ON testing and KEEP ON testing and KEEP ON testing until…
There were three reasons why I LOVED how my co-worker had handled himself.
First, he was calmly rocking her to sleep while she was screaming and crying. I don’t know about you, but when my kids are freaking out screaming and crying – it’s hard to be calm. Listen, I UNDERSTAND “shaken baby syndrome.” Don’t get me wrong; I’d NEVER do it… but I GET IT. Don’t lie… YOU GET IT TOO.
Second, quietly and calmly saying, “You won’t outlast me, Sweety” is absolutely genius for two reasons. If he keeps doing this consistently, his little girl will start to realize as she grows that when she throws a fit, or cries because she doesn’t get her way, or however she tests her boundaries, she WON’T be able to win by “breaking him down” through persistence – and it may save him some of those events from even happening in the future.
This is one of the very best ways Velociraptors kids get what they want. They pester and pester and pester until the parents have no energy left to fight and then they eventually escape and gain way too much control of the island have free reign to make more and more decisions without parental guidance and may start to make bad decisions; the kind that if parents were involved in they possibly would not make.
The second reason, quietly and calmly saying, “You won’t outlast me, Sweety” is absolutely genius is because it’s an affirmation that can only help my co-worker in the future. I talked about this a little in a previous post here: http://1in110.com/?p=4214 When you constantly tell yourself that you can’t be outlasted, you will START TO BELIEVE that you can’t be outlasted… and THEN, you will find a way to fulfill what you believe.
And when you absolutely BELIEVE that you can’t be outlasted, maybe, just maybe, you can’t. And you’ll be able to stand your ground when the Velociraptors are systematically testing the fences in which they are caged in different areas to find weaknesses your children start to try and push you to the point of exhaustion and you have no energy left to fight.
The final reason quietly and calmly saying, “You won’t outlast me, Sweety” is absolutely genius is because when they don’t outlast you – and you lay them down in bed and they’re sleeping all cute and such – there is such a sense of accomplishment it’s almost a bit overwhelming.
No kidding, I’ll never forget how I felt the day I over heard my #1 son tell my #2 son – they were about 6 and 4 years-old at the time – the following: “Stop throwing a fit. If Dad sees you, you WON’T GET WHAT YOU WANT, YOU’LL MAKE DAD MAD, AND HE’LL MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A TERRIBLE DAY. I know, because that’s what he does to me every time I get all crazy.”
Seriously, my oldest son, at 6 years-old, had already decided that his Dad wouldn’t be outlasted. And that EVERY time there was a fit to be thrown, there would be consistent consequences – the kind of consequences that were no fun for anyone.
Here’s the bottom-line.
It takes a LOT of effort either way. You’ll either have to put in the effort when they are young – and YOU are a bit younger and have more energy. OR, you’ll have to put in the effort when they are older – and you’re older – and they have more energy and more desire to “get their way” and YOU have less energy and are less able to resist the CONSTANT badgering and pestering and whining that may occur if they even THINK that you can be “outlasted.”
By the way, if you don’t recall, eventually the animals completely took over Jurassic Park and forced the humans to leave to simply survive.
Want to survive? Tell yourself – OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER – and let your kids HEAR you say – OVER and OVER and OVER… and OVER, “You won’t outlast me, Sweety.”