The scoop on parental chitchat: Less is more

  • Pin It

It took one spectacularly lousy camp pickup to convince me of what I've long suspected: I talk too much.

I have a vague recollection of parenting experts mentioning the folly of engaging your child in too many conversations. What kids need are decisions, they said, not questions. Instructions, not negotiations.

I also recall ignoring this advice outright, thereby setting into motion several hundred scenarios like the one that went down when my daughter was 4 and we were driving to preschool.

Her: Can we stop at Jamba Juice?

Me: Not this morning, sweetie. We don't have time. I wish we had time to do all the things we like to do every morning, but we only have a limited number of hours in a day, and sometimes we have to put off the things we like to do in order to do the things we have to do, and isn't it great that we have other days — like tomorrow! — where we don't have to rush to preschool and we can (blah, blah, blah, blah, justifying, apologizing, explaining).


Her: So can we stop at Jamba Juice?

I continued down this verbose path for another four years, ensuring my daughter, and now my son, would learn to tune out the first five minutes of everything I say and tune back in toward the end when I'm nearing the part where I make my point.

It's not a perfect system. But I tell myself I'm raising them to understand thought process, talk through problems and prioritize open and honest dialogue.

As if.

Allow me to re-create the recent scene at camp pickup.

Me: Hey, guys! Do you want to hit Dairy Queen and tell me all about camp?

Son: Yes! Dairy Queen!

Daughter: I hate Dairy Queen. It's the worst ice cream ever.

(Dairy Queen has been, prior to this very moment, manna from heaven.)

Daughter: I want Miko's.

Son: Miko's! Miko's!

Me: We have to pick up John (my stepson) from piano, and Miko's is in the opposite direction, and (blah, blah, blah, justifying, apologizing, explaining). OK, fine, we'll go to Miko's.

Daughter: Actually, I want Dairy Queen.

Son: I hate Dairy Queen!

  • Pin It

Search our recipe database:

Search Recipes  

Food Trends, Tips & Recipes

Season your turkey with Cuban flavors

Season your turkey with Cuban flavors

Give thanks for a turkey seasoned with memories.

Dressed in black

Halloween fare dressed in black

Set an elegant tone come Oct. 31 for a grown-up Halloween dinner with noir-hued dishes.

EATINGWELL: Healthy caramel apple needn't be short on taste

Healthy caramel apple that's not short on taste

This healthy caramel apple recipe has just enough caramel to give a nice hit of salty-sweet flavor in each bite for a tasty dessert.

Rich pumpkin tart without using dairy

Rich pumpkin tart without using dairy

A cheesecake-like pumpkin tart made vegan with tofu is flavorful and rich.