Most parenting problems turn out to be problems of communication, don’t they? When you are a Must Have Parent—a partner who takes on more of the responsibility of parenting because of your spouse’s extreme job demands—you need to communicate things to the kids even more efficiently than most parents do because you have fewer resources for more work.
That’s why every Must Have Parent needs to learn these seven epic mike-dropping words: And I will not change my mind.
I was reminded of this last week when the four-year-old sitting behind me at Starbucks kept begging his MHP to let him eat the fruit cup instead of his bagel.
“No, Jackson. That is not for now. That is for lunch,” she explained patiently. “If you eat that now you won’t have anything for lunch.”
Jackson was unrelenting. Mom held firm. Until 20 minutes went by. Then Mom ran out of energy and pushed the fruit cup to him. Jackson just learned that 5, 10, 15, no, 20 minutes of begging is how long it takes for your parents to give in.
That poor mom. Like all of us MHPs, she had a finite amount of energy to last the entire day. A begging child wears you down like nothing else. She needed a way to tell Jackson no and stick to her guns without using up all her willpower.
That’s when she needed to drop the mike.
Seven epic mike-droppin’ words
What all MHPs need in that moment are these seven epic mike-droppin’ words: And I will not change my mind.
I learned this MHP parenting skill the hard way. My own kids are the most persistent, driven people on the face of the earth. They could wear down granite. And, I, sadly, am not a particularly firm parent. Think banana pudding.
Yet everyone needs to stop the begging/nagging/whining that is a key component in a kid’s communication arsenal. And I will not change my mind communicates the no like nothing else.
This is how MHP parenting skill could have worked for Jackson's MHP:
1. Jackson begs. (Kids are always gonna beg. It ain’t personal.)
2. MHP tells him no.
3. Jackson begs again.
4. MHP looks right into his eyes and says, “Jackson, I told you no. You cannot eat the fruit cup now because you will not have anything for lunch.” Then, (wait for it) she says, “And I will not change my mind.”
5. Mike drop.
When I learned this technique from another MHP, I was amazed at how well it worked. It did not instantly stop the kids from begging. Instead, it instantly filled me with resolve.
I did not expect that. I found that I was not just telling my kids the no was final. I was telling me: And will not change my mind.
That MHP skill worked like a miracle because I stuck to it every single time. My kids learned that once I said the seven epic words, once I dropped the mike, that was it. I really would not go back and change my mind. My husband, a Must Do Parent, picked up the technique, too, and it made parenting easier and less stressful for him.
Here is the caveat:
If either of you say the seven epic words and then you do go back and change your mind, you have ruined this technique forever. So don’t do that.
So much of what we do as Must Have Parents is communicate. We communicate what we want kids to do. We communicate what we do not want them to do. It goes on all day, every day and tends to suck us dry. Learn this and other MHP skills and it all gets a little easier. I mean that. And I will not change my mind.