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Parenting 101: Sarcasm Is A Bad Idea

Sarcasm is one of these things that divide the planet: is it useful? Efficient? Or should it simply not exist? Some people say that sarcasm is the lowest form of intelligence, while others think it’s the best tool ever to put a point across.

I, for one can see both sides of the argument. We don’t use sarcasm to convey something nice. Ever. So that speaks volume about its usage. However, sometimes, when you have exhausted all other options, there might genuinely be nothing left to do.

I don’t have a strong opinion on sarcasm. Sometimes I ditch it, sometimes I take it, and that’s fine. However, moms, be aware,  don’t ever be tempted to use it as a parenting tool. Because you might be in for a tough ride. One might say I’ve learned by experience and what an experience it has been! Here’s what happened.

My little girl is living on a planet of her own. She’s the absolute ruler of her universe. At home, she rarely bothers with “please” and “thank you”. You might be judging me as a bad parent for not teaching polite behavior to my kids. And I’ll be the first one to admit that I am no mother of the year. But as far as being polite goes, I am pretty firm. My daughter is just a tough nut to crack. So after repeating stuff a gazillion times, punishing, reasoning, and generally making zero progress on the topic, I resorted to sarcasm. If little miss rude doesn’t want to understand and play by the rules, then let’s turn the table a little and see if that gets me anywhere. And just so you know, it got me nowhere . . .

Before I was a sarcastic mom, when my daughter asked for something without being polite I would prompt her, “Haven’t you forgotten something?” and she would look straight at me, “No, what?”

“Well, what’s the magic word?”

“Abracadabra?” Smart butt. . . “No, the other magic word, the one that gets you things”

“I don’t want to do magic, I just want water”

So, yeah, I don’t think the lesson is sinking in. I need a new strategy. Now, when I give something to my little princess and she doesn’t say “Thank you”, I just go, “You’re welcome”, in the hope that it will remind her she forgot something important. Everybody in the house has adopted this behavior. It’s become the norm: we say “You’re welcome” and my daughter says “Thank you” It’s a little topsy turvy, but it works.

Except, the other day, my son was helping his sister to some water, but he wasn’t in a mood for sarcasm. Instead, he snapped,

“Hey, I don’t know why you’re so rude here. But I hope you say “Thank you” at school when the lunch lady gives you your food”

To which my daughter replied, “No, I don’t say “Thank you”, because they’re supposed to say “you’re welcome” first, but they never do. So that means I don’t have to say anything”

As we all picked up our jaws from the floor, not knowing whether to laugh or cry, she added, “Anyway, you’re not my father, so butt out” and went on to rule the rest of the world.

So beware, you can’t outsmart a six year old. Never. Don’t even bother trying.

scream

 

 

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