One of our first parenting books was a great little volumne called How to Con your Kid. It offers many toddler-survival tactics, my favourite being the offer-a-choice trick.
Yesterday, I was encouraging my daughter (age 2) to get into her stroller so we might go collect her brother at school.
|Conan||Into your stroller, sweetie-pie|
|Daughter||I don't want to go into the stroller, I want to walk!|
|Conan||Should I fasten the straps, or do you want to do it?|
|Daughter||I want to do it.|
|Conan||Hmm. Well, just this once, ok? Sit down and you can strap yourself in.|
And in she hops. This technique is so effective it feels like manipulation bordering on unethical. But if the only alternative is physical coercion, it's not so bad. Fortunately (or otherwise), the child eventually learns countermeasures, and it's much less effective by age 4. But by that age dialogue and mutual understanding largely replace the need for coercion.
Then I noticed an eerily parallel conversation going on the other side of the Atlantic:
|Uncle Sam||More war, more global warming, more bailouts for rich people, more oppression for the poor.|
|The People||No, we want transparent, open and fair government!|
|Uncle Sam||Replublican or Democrat?|
|The People||Um .. Democrat, this time, please|
|Uncle Same||Hmm. Well, just this once, ok?|