Another parenting strategy goes awry…

Image: Flickr/Jumer Back in the foggy mists of time, I have a memory of telling Flea that tantrums, shouting, hitting or whinging were not acceptable in our household.

If Little Flea looked like she might melt down, I would ask her to go somewhere else until she felt calmer and then she could come and talk to me.

If she had said something rude, then when she came back, I would explain that unkind words make people feel sad, and I’d ask her if she had anything she wanted to say to me – this would inevitably prompt a mumbled, “Sorry Mummy” and then we’d move on to something else.

This friends, sounds like modern parenting at its finest.

Except it turns out to be a STUPID plan. Because while I congratulate myself on having a kid that has never thrown a tantrum, never bitten, hit or kicked anyone, I appear to have inadvertently created the world’s smallest, most lethal emotional blackmailer. 

This week, I told Flea we couldn’t do something because it was bedtime.

Her bottom lip quivered. She turned her face up towards me, and deployed the croaky voice she uses to let me know she’s THIS close to tears. “I feel a bit sad, now,” she croaked.

“Why?” I asked.

You used an unkind word, Mummy,” she said.

Did I?

“Yes,” she said, earnestly. “You said no and that is an unkind word because it made me feel sad.”

“It is not,” I replied, clearly channelling my inner four-year-old.

Flea took a deep breath and looked me straight in the eye: “I am not sure I want to be your best friend any more because you have made me quite a lot sad. Do you have anything you’d like to say about that?

Any chance I can swap her for one of those kids that shouts and slams doors?


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 22nd July 2010 / 10:46 pm

    Oooh shes smart she is. Tops does something similar. Waits for it all to die down and then asks “what does x mean?” and when x is explained she then repeats back, but you said that and that isn’t a nice thing to say to me is it…..

  2. 22nd July 2010 / 11:07 pm

    Ahahaha what a smart cookie!

  3. 22nd July 2010 / 11:08 pm

    Ahhhh bless, they find a way don’t they?
    The second Zack sees me with some pepsi he comes straight over to tell me he loves me, while eyeing it up, even though he knows I’ll never give him it! >_< Kids eh?

  4. 22nd July 2010 / 11:18 pm

    Ha! I get the same, no come back really.

  5. 23rd July 2010 / 12:32 am

    Don’t you just hate it when they turn the tables on you? It drives ME up the wall.

  6. 23rd July 2010 / 1:06 am

    It’s SO annoying, isn’t it? Glad it’s not just mine, though!

  7. 23rd July 2010 / 1:07 am

    Oh yes, she has worked out how to outwit me depressingly quickly!

  8. 23rd July 2010 / 1:08 am

    Ha! Flea loves me a LOT if we’re near a toy store, it must be said. The rest of the time it’s “Why do you say you love me ALL THE TIME Mummy? I do know.”

  9. 23rd July 2010 / 1:08 am

    Oh, I don’t know – I stick my finger up my nose and wipe it on her pyjamas. Works for me.

  10. 23rd July 2010 / 1:09 am

    Honestly, I hear myself being quoted back and want to kick myself every single time. “Have you got anything you want to say about that?” is a favourite, along with, “Are you REALLY cross with me, or are you just feeling grumpy?”

  11. 23rd July 2010 / 9:21 am

    Ha! She’s not soft is she…

  12. 23rd July 2010 / 1:25 pm

    she’s a bright kid! (and very funny) x

  13. 23rd July 2010 / 8:00 pm

    EVERY chance of a swop! I would be interested in having that conversation currently!

  14. Priness_L_88
    24th July 2010 / 8:51 pm

    ROFL! I adore her! Honestly, she’s fabulous!

  15. Holly@itsamummyslife
    27th July 2010 / 8:53 pm

    Lovely. I wrote about this today. Eliza’s been repeating back my words to her ‘You are making me very angry mummy’ . I guess I have ALOT more of this to come. They can be rather smart these small people.

  16. 1st August 2010 / 6:33 am

    Oh dear! I too try not to shout at Lilly, but just be firm and explain what is wrong with her behaviour when she does something naughty. But when she does something that does make me raise my voice, she’ll sob her heart out… makes me feel soooo guilty…
    Parenting’s not easy, is it!