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About a month ago, I spent yet another morning trying to get my kids downstairs and ready for school. "Socks, shoes, coats," I fired off like a drill
sergeant. "Don't forget your school bag!" No response.
My voice echoed through the house as if I were talking to myself. "Come on, boys!" I finally yelled. "We are
going to be late!"
My kids came trudging downstairs, grim expressions on their
faces. "You don't have to yell," my 6-year-old said. "We didn't hear you."
I just stared at him. "I called you three times!"
He shook his head and sighed as if he had the weight of the
world on his shoulders. "Mama, if you want us to listen, just say our names
first. I think you're talking to my brother and he thinks you're talking to
"But I said 'boys.' Who did you think I was talking to?"
Could it be that easy? No, of course not. But I have found that if I preface my
requests with their names, I do get a slightly quicker response time.
"Out of the mouths of babes … " goes the saying. As parents,
we spend a lot of time talking (OK, and sometimes yelling on harried school
mornings) to be heard. But sometimes, if we're quiet and listen, we get the
very best parenting advice from our own kids. Here are some of the best tips
straight from the source.
"He's 19 now, but my then-4-year-old son told me, 'Mommy, if
you want your kids to listen better, it would help if you didn't tell them what
to do so often.' He still reminds me I never learned not to be so bossy." — Renee
"Wear your coat. You tell us to wear our coats, but you
always forget yours." — Sherry's 5-year-old son
"When my sons
were 11 and 13, I got home later than I'd expected from a date. They met me at
the door, arms crossed, feet tapping and demanded, 'And just where were you,
young lady?' (Not that that was ever a stance I'd taken with them! LOL) That
was the beginning of our agreement to always let each other know where we were
going, who we were with, and when to start worrying if we weren't back. It
lasted through college. One of the best agreements we ever made." — Kathy
"Mum, you need
to take a breath and count to 4." — Ann's 4-year-old son
"Mom, you don't have to be so harsh this morning. Your words
are stabbing my heart. Are you hangry?" from Denise's 9-year-old. Her harsh
words? "I need you dressed and ready for school before you come downstairs."
"Maybe you need a nap." — Holly's 3-year-old daughter
"My 7-year-old is very enterprising. He started a chore
service, doing chores for his neighborhood friends and splitting their
allowance with them. When I asked why he'd do the job for half the price, he
gave me a solemn look and said, 'Any money is better than no money and I'm
getting experience.' I told him I'll remind him of that when he's 16 and
doesn't want to get a real job. But at the rate he's going, he'll be making
more than I am by the time he's 16." — Rachel
"My son was 4
when he emphatically told me: 'Grown ups need to know kids have senses.'" — Maura
"If you fed
me more candy I could have X-ray vision. Don't you want me to have that?" — Eli's 4-year-old nephew
driving with my daughter Mira, age 3, we got lost. I sighed miserably from the
front seat. From behind me she said, 'Just take a step back and ask for help,
Mom.'" — Kirsten
"Maddie was 6
when she put this gem in a sealed, addressed envelope in our mailbox: 'To John and
Christina, My advice from me to you, don't call people brats and don't holler
at people. Don't be grumpy a lot! Sincerely, a friend' And for the record, no
one ever called her a brat or 'hollered' at her." — Christina
have read the Terms and Agreement when you signed up to be a parent. Nobody
ever reads the Terms and Agreement." — Carol's 16-year-old son
"My kid was
having a tantrum, and I said, 'Do you ever see me freaking out over something
this small?' And he said, 'You're a grown-up—you have more sense than I do!'" — Jennifer
"My son hated
me going off track when I took a short cut through one of the stores from the
car park behind it. Greg was 3 and he used to shout, 'Stay on the path, Mum!
Stay on the path!' It became our family motto for focusing down and not getting
distracted." — Kate
"Aaron, age 3, tells me, 'The baby is crying. You should pick her up.' Thanks, captain
obvious." — Axie
"A few months
ago, I was trying to get E in the infant carrier. It was one of those days and
she was screaming bloody murder because she was overtired. I couldn't get the
top of the carrier snapped and was getting frustrated. Not getting the carrier
to close coupled with the
screaming in my ear was really overwhelming me in the moment. Aubrey says, 'Mom,
she's just a baby.' Nothing like your 3-year-old to remind you that you're
acting ridiculous." — Sarah