I made a bit of parenting blunder last night and it carried over to this morning. Last night the kids were begging for a snack, but we returned home from a late baseball practice so I negotiated that if they were fast and behaved through the bedtime routine we would grab donuts on the way to school on Friday. Friday morning came and I thought I was off the hook. They wanted breakfast and so I gave them a typical breakfast, but then almost as if the food was fueling their memory they remembered that dad promised donuts today.
I tried desperately to backtrack and said that since they already had a yummy breakfast they don’t need donuts this morning. Both kids began to cry and pout muttering that I am a liar. My wife looked at me and told me she’s not saying a word. She didn’t have to. Between her glares and the children’s tears I tried to plan my escape route. I had what I thought was a brilliant idea. I am going to teach them some very valuable lessons this morning.
I told them that they get to share one donut, but the trick is they have to compromise and decide on just one. This will be awesome, I thought. They are going to learn about sharing, compromising and being persuasive about a subject they both hold very dear to their hearts: sugar.
My oldest wanted a jelly filled donut and knew that prior to walking into the store. The youngest wanted chocolate with sprinkles. We entered the store and the showdown began. The oldest tried to convince his younger sister that how amazing the jelly donut would be while bashing the rectangular shape of the sprinkled bismark she had her eyes glued to. He even had me pick her up because he thought maybe the only reason she was so enamored with that one was because it was right at her eye level.
The employee at the store even brought out more donuts to see if she could help move this stalemate along. At the five minute mark of arguing, debating and arm-crossing, I gave them ten seconds to make a decision. The Four year old would not budge and the seven year old had lost.
As I sat back and watched this debacle of a morning I had many thoughts like, why isn’t my seven year old better and persuading his little sister and what if the four year old is always this stubborn, I mean strong-willed, how could it hurt or benefit her future. And then as both sat in the back seat of the car with their faces covered in chocolate, I made one more promise: I am never buying them another donut.
So, how does this tie into my breakfast links? Well kids are fascinating and so is parenting, so here goes…
Another thought I had driving in this morning after the donut debacle was how events like this shape kids. My oldest says that he always has to give in and she always gets her way. He is right. So, what does that mean for both him and her long term? There are so many theories on birth order out there, and it’s not because future behavior is determined by the order you come into the world, it’s determined by environment and experiences that happen due to birth order. While I have my own theories and experiences, I thought I’d share this article on how birth order affects spending habits.
I said earlier that I was puzzled that my son couldn’t convince his younger sister to agree with him on the donut of his choice. But really, he made some very compelling arguments and negotiated winning a future deal with her all while still securing half of a chocolate sprinkled donut. So in fairness he came out OK. I’ve heard funny anecdotes about kids making great sales people so here is an article sharing the same message.
As I was digging into some articles that show a co-relationship between parenting and managing employees I came across this great one. The article deals specifically with sales managers, but it makes sense in other management roles as well.
I mentioned earlier about my daughter and her steadfast stubbornness that she was going to either get the donut she wanted to go down bombs a blazing. That’s the personality that I have grown to love and adore the past four years. It can definitely be a bad thing when you need her to just listen, but I’ve seen it also be a good thing as she refuses to quit trying to climb an obstacle at a playground her cautious older brother won’t even try. Here is an article about the benefit of being stubborn.
And now circling back to my lovely wife. While I am sure I will still get some solid parenting advice from her this evening, I do love that she simply gave me a shrug and silence this morning. When she got to work she cleverly sent me a text with one little donut emoji. Thanks honey. Apparently emojis are big business and here is an article about it.