Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Talk To Me - 3 - A Trick

The word "trick" may be off-putting, but it's actually what it is.

This is a short blog offering a technique that works well on children, but can also be used in other situations.

First, some background.

When I was pregnant with my first child, my mother said she was only going to give me ONE piece of advice, and it was "Don't buy a baby book". She had, and it had caused her nothing but worry, stress, and frustration. One day when I was just a few weeks old, and driving her nuts, my father came home to find her crying. Apparently nothing was going like it should, according to the book. My father's advice was to burn the book.

So, I avoided all baby books, bar one. It was a gift from a friend, and it was humour. But it contained very sage advice, including the title:

"Pyjamas Don't Matter"

It included the sheer wisdom of the choice where both options suit the mother. This was worthy of Solomon himself.

"Do you want to get dressed in your room, or in the bathroom?"

Not getting dressed is not given as an option. But the child feels empowered by being given a choice.

I am here to tell you that 6 kids and 30 years later, I have used that THOUSANDS of times, effectively, and am still using it.

It works on husbands. It works in customer service. Politicians do it all the time. It's sheer bloody genius.

In general communication, it can be used in endless ways to ensure things work out well. Even if the person being offered the choices is aware of the slight manipulation going on here, he will often go along with it. That's the beauty of it. It's only a "trick" if you don't see what's happening. Otherwise it's a peacekeeping compromise. Try it.


  1. WHAT? You say this works? It must be the way you say it. I learned this too, from a book, and from a parenting course a friend was taking. It DID NOT work in my experience. My kids always saw right through it and wanted an entirely different option. Maybe they were just too smart, :).

    1. It helps if the circles are spinning in your eyes, LOL. But yes, it worked. Countless times. Even on teenagers. Actually, especially on teenagers.