It’s Not All Mary Poppins


“Arthur, it’s time for me to make lunch. You need to pick up those blocks now so I can move in the kitchen. Pick up the blocks, please.”


“No, not ‘why’. When I say ‘Pick up the blocks’, you say ‘Okay, Mary’.”


“Par.Don Meeee?”

“Ahhh… Okay.”

“Okay, Mary.”

“Okay, Mary.”

We’re on our way…

January 26, 2006 - Posted by | Arthur, manners, socializing


  1. Argh! Don’t you just love when kids do that to you, keep asking why as a way of delaying the inevitable. I went through this all afternoon with B yesterday and he’s a good three years older than Arthur! Thankfully, K isn’t at that stage yet…

    Comment by Angela | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  2. Go Mary, Go Mary, Go Mary (see me doing the little “Yay!” dance?)

    The Why mentality is possibly one of the stupidest trends we have implemented ever in childcare. I mean I’m all for asking why when appropriate, but if you are TOLD to do something by an adult, you do it!

    Of course, it rarely works as well for parents:-( But it can work sometimes:-)

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  3. Sometimes princess number two will just look at me when I ask her to do stuff, so I usually say something like “This is where you say yes daddy!”

    At which point she usually says “yes daddy” and starts doing what I asked her to.

    Kinda cute.

    Comment by Simon P. Chappell | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  4. My versions include:

    “The proper response is ‘yes, Mommy’ and the proper action is to do what I told you to do.”

    “Excuse me?” (much in the same way as your “par.don. meeee?”

    “Try again and see if I change my mind.”

    Comment by misfit | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  5. Hmm, I like your method. I always end up letting my kid manipulate me into a conversation about it. DAMN! Foiled again!


    Comment by Kristen | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  6. Angela: Expecially since I’d given him the reason before I issued the instructions. The ‘why’ was entirely a reflex: a pointless, knee-jerk stall tactic. I really hate that kind of ‘why’!

    MrsA: Heehee. Thanks for the cheer!

    I started this with my own kids. “Say yes and start to do it, then ask why if you need to.” ‘Why’ as a stall tactic annoys me no end.

    I generally give a reason for what I’m asking them to do, because I am fair and reasonable; however, I am the grown-up. They don’t have to agree with me to do as their told, and I don’t have to justify what I say in order to be obeyed.

    Simon: A well-trained child is a delight. Kinda cute, indeed.

    Misfit: It helps to have different versions, just so you don’t bore yourself mental, saying the same thing over and over… Civilizing them is a long, slow process, isn’t it?

    Kristen: It pays to be concise. Make your point in ten words of less, then if called upon to defend it, simply repeat the very same words, calmly and unemotively. Barbara Coloroso calls it the “broken record” technique. I’ve used it for years and it’s highly effective.

    Comment by Mary P. | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  7. Wow, think I will keep the “broken record” technique in my handy book; never know when I will need it one day 😉

    Comment by Queen Bee | January 27, 2006 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: