With kids, pick your battles

WHEN it comes to raising kids I was taught one lesson early. Pick your battles.

The theory was to win the battles you needed to win, and let your kids win others.

I decided fashion wasn't one I needed to pick.

Which is why my son, from an early age, could often be seen dressed as some sort of superhero.

There I was, out shopping, accompanied by either Superman, Batman, Mr Incredible or even a Ninja Turtle.

I did pull rank when it came to his Tarzan costume, which was simply a pair of jocks.

But by giving my son the chance to explore his own tastes in clothing I am now happy to have a boy with a great sense of fashion.

As an example, while buying my step-daughter a belt for her pants, which were too big, my son announced, "I often just wear a belt for the look."

I still question his choice of wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants even in 40 degree heat, but they match, and I can't ask for more than that.

And he has grown out of his costumes … well, grown out of wearing them in public anyway.

Eating vegetables was always another battle, but I make it simple.

If the kids won't eat them, that is their choice, but they don't get to eat dessert and everyone else does.

It can make for some serious decision-making on their behalf.

The latest battle I faced this week came about because of a birthday. On a school night the kids' bedtime is 8pm, but the birthday boy advised me that now he was nine years old, instead of eight, he should have his bed-time at 9pm.

"Top points for trying, but no," is what I was thinking.

Instead I lead with my usual response of "I'll think about it," while I planned my battle tactics.

But that night the kids decided they wanted to stay up until midnight.

There was no school the next day, so I agreed.

They barely made 10.30pm.

When I asked what happened my son said the movie they were watching made them sleepy.

Thanks to that there have been no more requests for a bed-time extension.

Battle won, and I didn't even need any armour!

Super Mum with Sharyn O'Neill

Twitter: supermum1972

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