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Turning the tables on us

April 17, 2012
ANDREW POTTER , Times-Republican

There comes a time when your kids start using what you say to them back against you. Call it reversal of parenting, but our 3-year-old has become quite an expert at deflecting our advice back to us.

Here's an example.

We were not pleased with how she was ending her inquiring statements with a "Huh?" So we have told her to use more grown up words.

Well, inevitably at another time we end up talking to her and we accidentally say "Huh?" at the end of a sentence. She doesn't blink and replies: "That's a baby word."

Yes, I guess we have to practice what we preach. She also has reversed the roles on punishment with us as well.

Giving a kid a "timeout" is a nice way to calm everyone down, sending them to sulk in their room. This method usually works as the child can go and take a breather and come out of it calmer. Our girl has now turned the tables on us on this one too.

I think she has ordered me to go to timeout about a dozen times for acting "naughty." Of course, her definition of daddy acting naughty means I didn't agree with something that she wanted to do. Or I can also get sent to timeout for suggesting such things as cleaning up her toys.

It doesn't happen often but it's still kind of humbling for a 3-year-old to say "go to timeout" when you are grown man.

I do play along just for the cute factor of it all but I'll never let her put me to bed without supper. I draw the line there, a man's got to eat.

Sometimes, I'm not sent to timeout but rather I am told to turn into a dog, princess or a horse, when whatever she is holding turns into a magic wand. Talk about humbling.

There are some days when she wakes up and thinks she is in charge that day. Yes, it's a bossy phase that all kids try to get away with at some point.

Then, if she is being too bossy, it turns around to being my fault.

"Daddy, you are making me bossy this morning."

That's a quote I've heard several times from her. Sometimes dads just can't win.

I guess we'll continue to try to draw the line between a parent and a child, but kids these days know how to work the angles and blur that line if it can benefit them.

I guess in parenting you have to stay on your toes.


Reporter Andrew Potter is a Tuesday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or



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