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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Something I learned about parenting when I was little.

This one reminded me of the seminal moment when young Pratie (still in her single digits) first realized parents do NOT have all the power. And can make severe tactical errors...

My father being a thrifty man, he had not wanted to waste some slightly aged blueberries in the refrigerator and so he put them my cornflakes. I wouldn't eat them.

He kept insisting that I would indeed eat them. I kept demurring.

His threatening demeanor gradually ratcheted up. Though I don't remember the middle of the story, we ended up with my standing, backed up against a kitchen wall, with him in front of me. He was holding the bowl in one hand and the spoon, with a bite of cornflakes and aged berries, in the other, extended towards my closed mouth. He had issued some sort of ultimatum but I was standing firm.

At that moment I realized that my usually awe-inspiring father was in a ridiculous position and that he couldn't win this one. He could not actually force food into my mouth.

So I remembered that moment decades later when I had kids of my own. It led to two of my prime parenting directives:
  • "Never issue an ultimatum unless you can really follow through."

  • CHOOSE your battles. My father should never have lost the upper hand over a bowl of withered blueberries.

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At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vivid Story.
L'Shanah Tovah.

At 10:16 PM, Blogger kenju said...

Very vivid! One of my kids was bound and determined not to eat black-eyed peas. I love them and I couldn't fathom why she would not even try them. We had a stand off that resulted in her sitting at the dinner table for hours and hours, refusing to eat. It didn't solve the problem and I learned that parents should never use food as a battleground anyway. It doesn't work and it might lead to eating disorders later on.


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