As parents, we’ve all given in once in awhile – a cookie before dinner after your preschooler pleaded, "Please mom, I promise I won’t ask for anything else ever again?" or an extra hour or two past bedtime for your tween who said she just needed the time to clean her room. Yeah, we’ve all been there. But is your kid suckering you into getting his way more often than you think? Take this tongue-in-cheek quiz to find out. WARNING: The quiz is inspired by true events around my house.
1. Your preschooler asks you if you know where the store is where all the nice mommies and daddies are buying their kids new toys (emphasis hers).
A. You stumble out something along the lines of ‘I don’t know, where do you think it is?,’ then take the next chance to change the subject.
B. You immediately drive your child to the nearest department store, let her pick out what she wants and grab a candy bar for yourself, fretting the whole time that you’re not a good parent.
C. You remind your child that she just got a few new toys for her birthday and that she has plenty of toys to play with already.
2. Your 4th grader breaks the rule of riding on a scooter without his helmet. When you catch him in the act, he explains, "But the rule is I can’t be on my scooter without one – this is my friend Jimmy’s so I’m not doing anything wrong." In response you:
A. Tell him he’s right. But the new rule is that he has to wear a helmet on all scooters, no matter who they belong to. (And don’t forget to mention all bikes, skateboards, pogo sticks…)
B. You tell your son he understands exactly what the rule means and since he can’t follow the rules no scooters – with or without helmets – for the next week.
C. You stand open mouthed, then tell him he knows better and you’ll think of a punishment later. Later you tell him he has to go to bed early and you use the time to write up the whole experience on Facebook.
3. It’s after school and you’re on the phone with the Internet company trying to get the service fixed. Again. Your tween asks if she can watch TV, even though the rule is no shows until after dinner. How do you respond?
A. You tell your tween she can’t watch TV while on hold, but then feel bad and offer to let her play on her handheld gaming device instead.
B. "Why not?" you say, moving into the TV room to watch with her while listening to the message repeat, ‘A representative will be with your shortly. We appreciate your business.’
C. You talk to customer service and your tween simultaneously, explaining to her that she’ll have to wait. After you get off the phone you tell your tween that she knows the rules so she shouldn’t be asking, whether you’re on the phone or not.
4. In the middle of the cereal aisle your child starts crying that she wants to go home. Now. What do you say?
A. You keep repeating to your child that it won’t take much longer as you wend your way through the rest of the aisles, making a pit stop to buy some extra aspirin for your growing headache.
B. Echoing your child’s raised voice, you loudly tell her you’re ready to go home now, too, and without getting everything you need you head right to the check-out counter, hollering kid in tow.
C. Hunching down to be at your child’s level, you ask her to help you finish the items on your list. "Can you find the granola for me?"
5. After putting your child to bed he comes out of his room. You didn’t tuck him in, he insists. He comes out again. You forgot to give him a kiss, he says. The third time you hear his door open, you:
A. Say loudly, "If I hear someone come out the room again he won’t get a bedtime story tomorrow night."
B. Call up that he’s already come out twice and this is absolutely the last time he better come out.
C. Ask what he needs. Get it, then tuck him back in. Fourth time, you ask what he needs, get it, tuck him back in. Fifth time, you ask what he needs. Get it…
6. Your middle-schooler begs you to buy a guinea pig, pledging to take care of it completely.
A. You end up buying her a pair at the pet store after she insists, "One would get soooo lonely."
B. Making a chart, you explain that if she can keep her room clean for two weeks, she can have a goldfish and then if she can take care of it, you’ll consider something furrier.
C. You remind her that she had to give her hamster to her cousin last year after she forgot to clean its cage – for a month. And you tell her, "When you’re an adult, you can get as many guinea pigs as you want."
7. Your 5th grader asks if she can watch ‘just one more’ show even though you told her it was time to turn the television off.
A. You stick with your plan and the TV goes off at the end of iCarly, episode: I can’t believe I’m still supposed to be high school.
B. You mumble, ‘just one more,’ figuring this way you can finish reading a magazine without interruption.
C. You enthusiastically say yes, come back a couple hours later to see your child still glaring at the screen, the image of SpongeBob reflecting off her glasses’ lenses.
8. Your 11-year-old asks aloud why he can’t have cell phone like all of his friends at school.
A. You figure, well if all of his friends have one, I guess he should to. iPhone or Droid?
B. Asking him why he wants a cell phone, you end up having a discussion where he admits to feeling like he wants to be more independent.
C. You tell him that you’ll think it over, hoping it will be awhile before he reminds you.
9. On the way home from a long day visiting the Detroit Zoo, your kids beg you to pick up pizza instead of eating the sandwiches you planned to make them.
A. You stop by Little Caesers to fill up on pizza for your crew, head home and let the kids watch cartoons while they eat.
B. You stop by Little Caesers to fill up on pizza for your crew, head home and let the kids watch cartoons while they eat.
C. You stop by Little Caesers to fill up on pizza for your crew, head home and let the kids watch cartoons while they eat.
*Yeah, this one’s a freebie. Parenting isn’t easy, especially when you’re tired. Enjoy your memories hanging out with your kiddos.
1. A = 2, B = 3, C = 1
2. A = 3, B = 1, C = 2
3. A = 2, B = 3, C = 1
4. A = 2, B = 3, C = 1
5. A = 1, B = 2, C = 3
6. A = 3, B = 2, C = 1
7. A = 1, B = 2, C = 3
8. A = 3, B = 1, C = 2
Your score: 8-13
You have no trouble seeing through your child’s attempts at getting her way. Keep at it by making sure you’ve explained your family’s rules to her and why you’ve put them in place. When your child has a good understanding of what’s expected of her behavior it’ll make it easier for you both.
Your score: 14-19
Bending your rules happens every once in awhile, but your child knows you’re not a total pushover. Still, you might want to remind your child of your family expectations and the kind of behavior that is and isn’t appropriate.
Your score: 20-24
Consider signing your kid up for drama class because he’s using his acting skills to get what he wants maybe a little too often. Remember, you don’t have to rush to answer every time your child asks for something. And if your child taps into your sense of feeling like your parenting skills are lacking, don’t fall for it. Try making time each week to sit down with your child and talk about what’s going on in his life and then expand the discussion by talking about your family’s rules and what he can do to follow them better.