All these years I thought my children were wilfully ignoring me. Now I realise that they are listening to what I say, it’s just that they’re hearing something completely different…
What I say: I just need to make a work call.
What they hear: You’ve got a five minute window to take revenge on your sister for something she may or may not have done earlier.
What I say: I don’t care who started it.
What they hear: The most important thing is who started it. We will establish this based on who can shout the loudest. And possibly by some name-calling.
What I say: Please just try the cauliflower cheese; Mummy spent ages making it and it’s delicious.
What they hear: Under no circumstances let even the tiniest morsel of cauliflower cheese pass your lips. Mummy has only made it because she hates you.
What I say: You need to start taking responsibility for packing your own stuff.
What they hear: Mummy’s an idiot and forgot to pack the water bottle again.
What I say: Put your coats on and let’s go. If we’re not out of the front door in 30 seconds, we’ll be late.
What they hear: Of course you can watch the end of the TV show before we leave. Mummy will just drive faster and swear more.
What I say: NO!
What they hear: Maybe. Try asking me again, but in a moany voice. Mummy loves the moany voice.
What I say: Please can you tidy up your room.
What they hear: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Having the same problem? I’m liking the phrases they suggest on KidFocused – starting with ‘Try that again because…’ as in ‘Try that again because we are always kind to mummy when she hasn’t had a cup of tea since 10 o’clock this morning and looks like she might drink your blood instead’. Obviously that’s not the example they give on the website, but I think you know what I mean…