So, the more my kids understand me, the better they get at manipulating me. They may, in fact, be getting close to knowing me better than I know myself. I must stay on my toes.
Let's say that it is late afternoon and they want to watch a DVD or show of some sort. The strategies:
Levi's method: "Mom, I practiced my piano and all the chores are done. Jesse and I just got an extra tub of corn brought in. Can I help you with supper? (Me: no, but thank you!) Well, do you think we could all watch a short DVD?
Unpacking the Manipulation: Oh, how can I resist a checked-off to-do list?! He knows I love it when things have been accomplished. It is sooooo hard to resist rewarding that kind of laundry list.
Delaney's method: "You're probably going to say no, but, can we watch something?"
UtM: Who wants to be the Parent of No all the time? She tugs, tugs, tugs at my guilt-strings.
Jesse's method: Ummm, nothing. That boy is utterly incapable of manipulation so far. He's just all Jesse, all the time.
Sara's method: "Mom, there's this really neat show about science on PBS right now and I was wondering if I could turn it on and see if everyone wants to watch it with me?"
UtM: She has been sent. She has been coached. She has been told what to say. She plays this role well and figures she has nothing to lose. She never forgets a line.
Leah's method: She turns on the TV.
UtM: She remembers an occasion at some point in her life where this worked. Most likely during soccer season. Therefore, she will continue to rely on this strategy.