My Little Precious Mobius Strip Ant

They say children are born angels, transform into demons, and only then become human beings...

In spite of all my efforts, one day out of the blue (around the age of two), my son discovered the phrase “I don’t want to!” As the blazing sun dissolved into the endless sea, clearing the twilight sky for the ivory moon to rule, I saw my son’s pure white feathers melting into wax, revealing the dark tattered bat wings underneath; his shining head aura sharpened into horns and his gentle fingers thickened into scavenger's claws; and there’s no way in hell he could sleep comfortably on his back anymore with that new pointy tail of his. Now, my son is three years old and I believe the rough phase of the demon stage is behind us, so here are my tips for you parents:

Love your child. Education he can also get from kindergarten teachers, books and television. Love he cannot.

Let him be a kid. When your child is doing something you’re not sure if you need to allow him or forbid him from doing (you don’t have a decisive opinion) - let him do it.

Use the correct tone of voice. Children can determine quit easily from the tone of your voice, if it’s a question or a demand. Don’t use question-like sentences if you won’t take no for an answer. On these occasions - don’t shout, but be assertive.

Apply positive feedback. When he’s doing something right, always compliment him. Kids enjoy pleasing you and will love to see they made you happy. If that doesn’t work - use bribe.

Be consistent. If you decide your kid is not allowed to do something, stick to your decision. You and your spouse should enforce one set of rules, not two.

Make it a game. Kids will gladly take a painful shot at the doctor’s office if they think it’s a game.

Try tricks. My son sometimes falls for this one:
- Me: "Please put on your shirt."
- My son: "I don’t want to!"
- Me: "OK, so just wear this t-shirt." (the same shirt he just refused to wear)
- My son: "OK".
Using the word OK with a slight change in the sentence confuses him, making him think he won the previous argument, so he’s now willing to obey my “new” request.

Seek to understand. Children are not just small human beings. They are a different species. They comprehend things differently, their understanding is partial, and the monster living under their bed can be very scary sometimes.

Explain your requests. Try not to raise your voice; get close, bend on your knees, look into his beautiful eyes and explain to him softly why you need him to put on his shirt now, or you’ll be late for an important meeting at work, and your fraking boss will fire your ass, and you won’t be able to find another decent job, and the mortgage bills will just keep on coming like swarms of locust eating away your life’s savings, and you will lose your house, and while living in a cardboard box on the alley may seem to him like a cool idea right now, he’s not going to enjoy it when winter comes...

So, if you’re currently a parent to a demon kid - don’t despair. Your child is like this ant on that Mobius strip. Currently, he thinks everybody’s against him, but just a little bit further down the road, he’ll understand you're on his side.

p.s. Wake me up in time for the weekend. (credit not mine)


Anonymous said...

Harassing kids is in each parent's job description.
I can easily imagine the following conversation:
Uri: "You are sick, so please put on your coat."
Yoavi: "This is just an urban legend".
Uri: "OK. So just wear this very flattering blue coat."
Yoavi: "OK. (I'm sure I won't be like this when I'm a father...)"

Grandmother: Yeah. right.

Mom (getting personal)

Uri Kalish said...


Anonymous said...

"Wake up in time for the weekend", said the cat...