Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Nigel Slater incident,

A few moments ago I popped upstairs and found this note pushed under Honor's bedroom door. (She often leaves notes for me). This one, in particular, made me smile. There is a bit of a story behind this message. For a while Hubby and I have found our darling daughter's behaviour frustrating. She is nearly nine years old. Her attitude is a bit.... well, let's say we'd like to help her improve it! The biggest issue by far is that at school she does not learn and puts in the minimum amount of effort. What are we supposed to do? We can't go to school with her and make her do it so it must be the school's fault, right? Well, I recently came across a book called 'Have a new kid by Friday' by Kevin Leman. I think somebody on the Faith and Family forum recommended it. I googled the guy and watched some clips of him on youtube. He is very entertaining and talks common sense. So I bought the book. I have read many parenting books. I'm a trained teacher, for goodness sake. So I though I knew what I was doing! But, actually I was already realising that I've made mistakes in the way I've handled my first-born's behaviour. I've been honest with myself and acknowledged that while I thought I was being an authoritative parent, I have actually been passive. Oh, woe.
Now things are changing around here. HM has committed some serious crimes this week: not getting her homework done, backchatting and... dah, dah, dahhhhhh... left her clothes on the floor when she got changed for Brownies tonight. So. When she got home at 7.30pm, she said "hi Mum, are we going to watch Nigel Slater?" My reply was, "I was hoping to watch it with you but unfortunately you left your room in a mess and now you have to go and sort it out and get ready for bed". Then there were tears, and "it's not fair!" .
A while a go I'd probably have said "well go and clear up quickly and you'll be able to catch it". But no! Not now. There's no discussion. No second chances.
It's sad for me too. I wanted to cuddle up with her and watch it. What a shame. But it has to be done. (And anyway, it wasn't even on in the end - they put an extra episode of Eastenders on instead, but she doesn't know that.) But then there is the note: Dear Mummy, I know you are right about the tidy bedroom, Nigel Slater thing! Please can you say goodnight (on note) and leave something (NICE) to eat. HM xx.
So. She's getting it and I'm not the bad guy...but she's still trying it on. See what I'm up against?


  1. How sweet? I hope you keep all those little notes. It is cute to look back on them when they are teenagers. I slip them in all sorts of places and then find them many years later.

    My one piece of advice would be. Do not negotiate! My eldest most strong willed in a master in negotiation 'thanks' to me for listening and debating with him for many years!!! Stick to your means no.It gets a lot easier when they realise there is no point trying to change your mind!

  2. Thanks for that. I now know that's where I've been going wrong.
    And that's exactly what Kevin Leman says. 'Don't negotiate with terrorists'! My son, who is younger has caught on quickly. But our daughter is finding it harder to change. She is so used to manipulating us.