It is said, “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.” The flies are drawn to sweet honey and they avoid the sour vinegar. Your kids are the same way. If you speak to them kindly, using sweet and loving words, they will be drawn to you and to listen to what you’re saying. If you use sour words and you criticize them, they will seek to avoid you and whatever you are trying to tell them. Using kind and gentle words does not mean you are going to let your child get away with things that are wrong. It does not mean your child isn’t going to have to do his chores. It doesn’t mean that he’s going to get to watch TV before his homework is done. All it means is that you’re going to speak nicely to him. Use the following examples and try to train yourself to use more “honey” than “vinegar.”
Vinegar: Hey! Get in here and clean up this mess! You’ve got crayons all over!
Honey: How’s my favorite little artist? You need to clean up these crayons.
Vinegar: What do you think you’re doing? You know better than to have that TV on!
Honey: Hey cutie! Looks like you forgot to do your homework before you watch TV
Vinegar: Can’t you remember anything? The ice cream is all melted because of you!
Honey: Oh well, no ice cream tonight. Maybe next time you’ll remember to put it away.
Vinegar: I have had it with you. Put your towel on the rack or I’m gonna smack you!
Honey: Hi, hon. Can you see anything you forgot here? That’s right, the towel has to go on the rack. Thanks, bud! I love you!
Vinegar: You are so stupid! You leave this crap all over where people can trip and then it gets broken. Well, that serves you right, now your toy is gone.
Honey: I have to tell you something disappointing about your toy. It was on the floor and I stepped on it and broke it. Yeah, I know, it’s sad that you don’t have one anymore. What do you think might happen to these other toys that are still laying around? Yes, they might get broken, too. What do you think you should do with them? That’s right, it would be a good idea to put them away so no more of them get broken. Thanks, sweetie!
Vinegar: C’mon, it’s time to go, we’re gonna be late now because of you!
Honey: How’s my little helper? I know you don’t want to go, you’re having so much fun here now, but we do have to leave now. Put the toys away and tell everyone goodbye.
Whenever you find your kids in a sour or “vinegar” mood, think about how you’ve been speaking to them and try to offer a little “honey” instead. I think you’ll be pleased with the results.