Duh moments with your kids

Jul 27, 2011 at 2:11 p.m. ET

We all have the moments with our kids when they do something so incredibly….illogical…that we’re incredulous. How? Why? Isn’t it obvious that’s not what should have happened? It’s one of those “duh” moments when we shake our heads, whether internally or externally. But before you call your BFF and tell the story and maybe have a good chuckle (hopefully it’s chuckle-worthy), take a big breath and consider what’s going on.


We all have "dumb" moments, "duh" moments, yeah, but is "dumb" what you want to communicate to your kid right now? And can you teach something more? What is obvious to you clearly is not obvious to your child. What you can do is turn the "duh" into "ah!" Help your child learn what he or she needs to learn so that same "duh" moment doesn't happen again.

Check the shock

Yes, you may be incredulous -- shocked, even -- about what has just transpired. Whatever the topic or the action. Whether you child is two, 12 or 22, take care in how you show that shock. There may be extenuating circumstances you don't know about, or some other factors that make a that shock less than appropriate. And think about what it feels like when your actions get that shocked response. It doesn't feel very good, does it?

Kids aren't logical

Logic isn't an inherent quality. It's a learned skill. Your child was not born with the ability to deduce and make perfect choices every time. In addition, developmental levels affect your child's ability to understand logic. Logic, in short, is taught. And it's up to you to teach it. Even if the topic is so obvious to you, your child doesn't have the same life experience you do, and doesn't have the same logic. Time to explain.

Teach and reassure

Take the moment as a teaching moment if you can. Why were the actions illogical to you, and how can you explain the logic to your child? What can you talk about, age appropriately, to help your child understand what the different choice might have been?

Reassure, too, that everyone has moments when all logic seems to have been lost. It's embarrassing -- and hopefully is more laughable than cringe-worthy. When it's your child, take the time to teach as well as to laugh... then call your best friend.

More about talking to kids

Talking to kids about family secrets
Talking to kids about family finances
Talking careers with younger children

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