Reprinted with permission from Nanny Classifieds
“He has you wrapped around his little finger!” That was the comment so often made to the parent or adult who just couldn’t resist the big sad look of the child who knew how to melt the heart and cause a reversal of any decision deemed not to his liking. Fathers, mothers, grandpas and grandmas, (especially grandpas and grandmas) fall victim to the big pleading eyes of girls and boys of all ages all the time. Here are ten ways you can protect yourself from succumbing to sad puppy dog eyes.
- Don’t look – Avoid eye contact with the child. Say what you need to say and be firm. If you must look at your child then look sideways and not at those big beautiful, pleading eyes. Or…
- Make firm, direct eye contact – This takes resolve. Say what you need to say looking directly into the eyes of the child, then purse your lips, raise one eyebrow and resist all attempts your child makes to have you change your mind.
- Just say no – Or yes, or whatever it is you need to say and walk away. Should your child follow you just say, “That’s it. End of discussion” and don’t stop walking.
- Let them choose – Maybe your child just wants a choice if you are telling them to do something and they’re pleading with you to do something else. Give them a choice. They can either do what you are asking them to do or they can do some unpleasant task that needs to be done. Most times kids will choose the original request.
- Act dumb – Your child came to you with a request and your reply was not the desired answer. Puppy dog eyes begin pleading with you, but you look like you don’t understand what’s happening; you’re standing there with a quizzical look on your face, head cocked to one side then the other. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that you are not going to change your mind.
- Bargain – But this isn’t just any bargain. When your older child comes at you with the puppy dog eyes ready to spin you around that little finger, think of some job you really want done around the house. Give in, but only in exchange for something you want, like a clean garage or the windows washed. And if they don’t like the deal, give them the puppy dog eyes.
- Reflect the image – Go get a mirror and hold it up to the child’s face. If nothing else, it redirects their thought pattern!
- Sympathize – “Aw sweetie, Mommy would really like to let you go to the park, but….no means no. Sorry. Maybe we can go tomorrow.” Let your child know that what they want to do just isn’t going to work in the present moment, but later on is a possibility. No doesn’t necessarily mean never.
- Ignore the child – Sometimes if you ignore them they will go away. Sometimes. Just make sure they don’t go too far away and get into trouble!
- Give in – Face it, sometimes that look is so precious and the request so minor that you just have to give in. It won’t be the end of the world. But if you do cave, let your little one know that this is an exception and not the rule. And next time choose one of the above responses and stand firm!