A Little Story–Calm One’s Temper with Children

child

Like all children, my kids were not always perfect growing up. It’s part of the learning process, although for parents, it does not always feel that way.

My wife and I never believed that hitting a child would improve his or her behavior patterns. It only sends the wrong message, and when an adult finds that necessary, I suspect it is the adult with the problem.

In any event, when my children became overwhelming to the point where they began to get to us, I told them a little story, and I share it here:


“Once upon a time, there was a head that went to school. He had no body mind you, simply a head.

One day, he went to school and a new girl sat at the desk next to him. He turned, looked at her, and smiled. She looked at him and said, ‘Ooh, I don’t like you. You’re nothing but a head.’

The little guy was crushed and hurried home from school. He went to sleep crying that night, and he began to pray. ‘Oh God,’ he said. ‘Make me something else. Anything but a head.’

It worked. The next day, when he awoke, he found he had become a foot. He hopped on down to school, jumped up on his desk, looked at the little girl, and she looked back at him. She said, ‘Ooh, I like you even less today than I did yesterday. You’re nothing but a foot.’ Once again, he was crushed.

So the moral of the story is: Quit while you’re a head!”


Now, the story doesn’t end there. I told it so often that my kids got sick of it. I must admit, however, that by the time I finished telling it, they had changed their undesirable behavior, and I had calmed down considerably. So I made it part of my life.

Three years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, my family had a big party at our house. There were fourteen of us for dinner, so we put three tables together and had a huge feast. During the meal, two of my adult daughters were going at it, so to speak. Give me a break. It was Thanksgiving!

Having had enough, I said out loud, “Did I ever tell you the story about the head that went to school?” With that, thirteen people replied in unison, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not during dinner, please.” My response was, “You’re right.”

And we all laughed, had a fabulous dinner, and built a great memory.


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Comments

  1. I need to use that tactic. It's great!

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    1. Miranda: It works. I even used it when I taught high school. It shifts their attention.

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  2. What a lovely post! That is a good strategy for kids, however my mother unintentionally does something like that to her grandchildren by telling stories of the old people during her time. The kids and my siblings don't like her do that, so the kids learn to be a bit disrespectful. Maybe my mother didn't do it right, and i also don't know the better way she should have done it.

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    1. Andrea: Yes. I think it works best when they are your kids and it begins when they are young.

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  3. Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving this year! (great story, btw)

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    1. Thank you very much, and right back at you.

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  4. Oh that was adorable and one I may just work into my own little routine, I sure know those days, more so with my grandbabies then their parents...strange isn't it? But in truth we all do need some kind of head and foot story, it's the distractions in life or on a walk that are the magic of life.....since it's kind of Moby Dick day, I leave you with a quote that pretty much sums up a life worth living... ""It is not down on any map; true places never are." Peace my friend- Karen

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    1. Karen S: I agree, and thank you for the Moby Dick moment. I appreciate it.

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  5. I love that idea! I'll try it next time the grandkids want to argue about who plays with what!

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  6. This is good. Calms things down and I'd rather bore a kid to death than do something I'd regret.
    I think the worst it ever got for me was when I found myself wanting to throw food back at a kid that was busy chucking his lunch all over the room!

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    1. Jasmine: That's not too bad. Some people want to throw their kids at the food.

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  7. Lovely anecdote...an antidote for troublemakers♫♪

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    1. Lmkazmierczak: It sure is. Thank you.

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  8. Good story. Where were you when I needed such an anecdote? Raising three boys, I was more verbal--though I was known to give a knock on the head with my car keys when mouths got too mouthy.

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    1. Linda: Most people disagree with me, but I think boys are harder to raise. The girls always seem to do the right thing - until they are teenagers, of course, when their fathers don't sleep for ten years.

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  9. Hi JJ, what a lovely story i did chuckle when you raised it again at the dinner table :-) Thank you for your kind words over at mine. Life has carmed down now and its peaceful again. Life is very busy with organising our wedding day in December and im organising further handmade and vintage fairs for next year. Both my boys are doing well Jake is in remission and seems to have settled down well at the medical centre and is now able to work towards gaining a few qualifications. I haven't been in blogland for weeks but i saw Clainmarie's link on facebook to her blog and commented on it. I will come back maybe just before christmas im happy with the peacefulness of our life at present. Thank you for your comment its nice to know i have been missed and thought about. I hope all is well with you and your family. Take care, dee :-)

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    1. Dee: Your positivity surely has been missed. I am so happy things have settled down and the family is okay. I hope you do return before Christmas. Be well.

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  10. very cute. That's a new story for me! {:-D

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  11. Bad jokes are the best jokes. Cool story. I sing Dionne Warwick's "What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love" when my kids squabble. I guess great minds think alike, huh?

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    1. It's the same concept. You just have to annoy them back.

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  12. Ha! We have some of those stories, too! My son used to hold his hand up when he had heard enough, and he would say in a robot voice, "Talking is over." Used to crack me up.

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    1. One does need a sense of humor to raise children.

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  13. Loved this insight into how you dealt with your kids. Very interesting. I really liked the Thanksgiving dinner story. Made me smile. :)

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    1. Robin: When I see you, I'll tell you more.

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  14. What a cute story.

    I really liked this illustration, too!

    How fun to have a 'forever' story to share with your family!

    Thanks for sharing it with us, too.

    A+

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    1. Jenny: Thank you. It is a "forever" story.

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  15. Good story! I have now begun to hold up two fingers, sometimes three fingers when my husband starts in on repeat stories. If anything, it gets the grandchildren's attention because now they all "Want" to hear what he "Was" going to say. After he has told the story they all say "Aw granpa you've already told that story!" and everyone bust out laughing. It will be something they will always remember no matter how silly or dumb the story was. I call it a happy distraction. :)~Ames

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