A PARENTING STORY: THE RULE OF 3 (How Not to Be Annoying)
My girls were getting older. They were talking a lot about a lot and obviously annoying each other a lot.
And as you can imagine; repeating themselves all the time.
I caught myself telling them to chill out and stop being annoying. You don’t want to be that kid (or adult) that gets a hold of something and doesn’t know when to stop.
“Stop being annoying”, I said. “Just stop being annoying” I would repeat.
It wasn’t working. Just telling them to not do something is rarely the answer.
A real strategy needed to be devised and knowing my younger one… it needed to be precise. She needed an IF/THEN/ELSE statement.
They both like instructions, as long as they are easy to clear and easy to implement.
I, as a parent, assumed they knew what “annoying” meant and when they may be guilty of it. Even if they know the definition, the occurrence can be a bit vague and can be different from person to person.
So, the rule became:
IF you say or do something more than 3 times
(especially in a short period of time)
THEN you are on the verge of being annoying and you need to stop or alter.
ELSE you are now in the annoyance zone, proceed with caution, and be conscious of your audience’s body language
Perhaps you’re wondering if it worked.
Yes, of course it did.
A few weeks ago, Fe remarked that Anastacia had broken the rule… she was getting “soooooo annoying”. Anastacia just looked up and said “oops” and stopped. I giggled.
DISCLAIMER: They still annoy each other. They are sisters and around each other all the time so it’s inevitable. But it’s not because they don’t know when to just let go of a topic or at look to reposition it from a different point of view. Or at times they are literally just trying to get on each other’s nerves.