10 Questions You Shouldn't Even Waste Your Breath Asking Your Toddler...

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October 14, 2011

Do you ever talk to your child and sometimes feel like you’ve just wasted your breath? I do. And no, it’s not because my kid is a complete moron. The opposite actually. She amazes me with her vocabulary and communication skills, that’s it’s easy to forget I’m talking to kid and I grossly over-estimate what she can comprehend.

So for all you moms with vocal toddlers, learn from me. Avoid some serious frustration by staying away from these questions for a few years… And some, forever.

10 Questions You Should Never Ask Your Toddler:

1. Are you sure? No, your toddler is not sure. He may be sure he doesn’t want to do what you’re asking, but that doesn’t mean he’s sure the task is unnecessary. For example…

2. Do you have to go to the bathroom? 90% of the time the answer is yes. And even if your son (or daughter) doesn’t realize  he has to go, he will probably go once you sit him on the toilet. So don’t ask whether or not he’s sure. Don’t even ask if he has to go. Just take the kid to the bathroom.

3. Did you do that? If your kid is anything like mine, the answer to this question will be some crazy lie. Elmo did it; daddy did it. Basically, anyone–even someone who has never been to this house–other than me did it.

4. Why did you do that? If you finally get your toddler to admit some wrongdoing, just accept the victory and walk away. Don’t expect an explanation because chances are you’ll get another absurd lie. “Elmo told me to pour my milk on the floor.” Or “Daddy told me to put those LEGOs in the toilet.” Just correct the behavior and move on with as few questions as possible.

5. Do you love me? Yes, your kid loves you. You probably haven’t done anything (yet) to jeopardize that bond. So don’t ask or the results could backfire on you like they did for this mom.

6. Who do you love more, me or daddy? I know, we all think it. But that doesn’t mean you should actually say it out loud. Or ask your kid. No child should have to pick favorites with his/her parents, so convince yourself that your child loves you both equally.

7. What do you want to eat? I ask my daughter this at least 4 times a week and every night, without fail, the answer is the same: Chinese food. I imagine it’s ice cream or pizza for other children, but the moral of the story is, what kids want to eat and what they should eat are normally two totally different things. So don’t get their hopes up by allowing them to think they’re actually going to get what they asked for. Rather, try the options approach. “Do you want peas or asparagus?”

8. Are you sorry? Because 9 times out of 10 the answer is probably no. It’s been my experience that kids under 5 rarely feel remorse. They do naughty things to get what they want and if given the opportunity, they’d probably do those same naughty things over again. So just force your little one to apologize, sit him in time-out and call it a day.

9. Are you telling the truth? If you have to ask, you probably already know the answer is no. I get that it’s important to teach our kids the value of honesty, but I think this question is actually counter-productive. Even if your kid is lying, she will probably answer this question with the affirmative and now there are 2 lies to correct.

10. Do you hear me? Unless your toddler is deaf, he probably heard you. But that doesn’t mean he’s listening. Or really even cares what you said. The sad reality of becoming a mom is that no matter how much you love your child, no matter how much your child loves you, sometimes they don’t give a crap what you have to say.

Any other questions frustrate you when you’re trying to talk to your toddler? Share in the comments.

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Click here to email Jeanine, the author of this post.

 



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