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How [Not] to Communicate with Your Daughter

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We have all heard the cutesy names that mom-society has deemed fit for little kids with attitudes: terrible twos, threenager, fourmonal… Then children grow older and the names stop. An Instagram picture of an enraged child and #7YearOldMadAboutBeingGroundedFromtheiPad would not warrant the same reaction as a 3-year-old making the exact same same face with #threenager attached to the post. Why?

Because there is not a cute name for a 7-year-old with an attitude. The kid is still precious and cute, of course. But the attitude? Nope.  I do not claim to be an expert in handling such behavior; however, I do have quite a few “mom fails” under my belt in this area. Somehow, I have the ability to unintentionally trigger my 7-year-old’s mood swings like you wouldn’t believe. She is my first born so I am still learning. Many attitude-laden outbursts by school-aged children are a result of miscommunication or lack of communication.  I can’t tell you how to communicate with your daughter, but I can tell you how not to communicate with your daughter.

How {Not} to Communicate with Your Daughter…

  1. Do not tell her to hurry up. This will only cause her to dramatically slow down and make you later than you were in the first place.
  2. Do not – and I repeat – do not ask her to repeat what she said. See what I did there? Get it straight: she can ask you to repeat yourself til the cows come home but if you ask her once, you are the devil.
  3. Do not tell her to change clothes into something less sloppy. Clearly she is a miniature fashionista. Didn’t you know leggings with unintentional rips in the knees, winter boots in the summer, and ketchup dripping down a shirt are all the rage?
  4. Do not tell her she has to eat all her vegetables before she can have dessert. She is entitled to all the food all the time.
  5. Do not tell her to take a bath while she is watching Frozen for the 384,289th time. She will tell you that she is clean enough. When she actually does gets in the tub, she will try to convince you that gargling bath water (yuck!) is equal to brushing her teeth.
  6. Do not call her by the nickname she has had since a baby when she is at her school and there are 4th graders around. She may still cry and need your consoling when a balloon pops at home but out and about, you are an embarrassment. So cut it out.
  7. Do not tell her it is time to do homework. This will catch her off guard because it’s not like she doesn’t have it every.single.school night.
  8. Do not tell her that she can’t have a toy every time you go to the store. She will find ways to tell you that she will pay you back and when you say no, an argument will ensue. It also doesn’t matter if you are shopping for a toy for someone else’s birthday. She will plead her case for why she needs a matching one.
  9. Do not tell her that it is time to get ready for bed. She still has 5 more things left that she wants to do. Never mind that you gave her a 30 minute warning. Stop springing these things on her!
  10. Do not tell her that she has to walk at the grocery store. You can have a basket filled to the brim and she will still beg to climb in. When you don’t lether for the sake of the delicate bread and eggs, she will act like you have created a new form of torture. How dare you make her walk?!

In all honesty, I kid. While these tactics have not been effective with my own child, keep in mind that all children are different. They are miniature people with full size emotions and their attitudes are subject to their personalities. I may not know how to communicate effectively with my daughter in every situation, but at least we are communicating. We are both a work in progress and we can grow at it together.

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