There's a great Far Side cartoon showing a fellow scolding his dog for getting into the trash. “Okay, Ginger! I've had it! You stay out of the garbage. Understand, Ginger? Stay out of the garbage or else!” The lower half shows the dog hearing, “Blah blah blah Ginger blah blah blah blah blah Ginger....”
This cartoon pretty much sums up the impact we have on our children when we launch into one of those long-winded lectures we're so fond of delivering when they misbehave.
In my experience, after about seven words, kids tune out. Parents wish they wouldn't. We want to believe they're hanging on our every word, thoughtfully considering the error of their ways after they've sassed back. We somehow believe that when it comes to words, the more the merrier. So we ramble on, attempting to convince them to behave differently by going on and on ... and on ... and on.
But the truth is, the more you say, the weaker you come across and the less likely it is that children will take you seriously.
In "Parenting Without Power Struggles", I describe an easy-to-use parenting tool that can achieve more in a moment than hours of well-meaning lectures. And that is The Look.
For some, it's an arched eyebrow. For others, it's an unwavering gaze. Used properly, one facial expression conveys far more authority than thousands of words ever could.
Now, we want to see you try it. Show us your best "Don't you dare speak to me that way, young lady!". Share your "I am not going to ask you one more time!". And if you don't have a "Because I said so", it's time to create one. The slideshow below includes some ideas to get you started. Click through, then take out your mirror and start practicing. The Look will become one of the best parenting tools in your arsenal, once you get the hang of it.
After you send us a photo, one random winner will be selected. Prizes include:
A $150 gift certificate to SpaFinder.com
A "Parenting Without Power Struggles" parenting makeover with Susan, including five free phone coaching sessions, sure to help untangle chronic parenting challenges and restore your role as captain of the ship in your child's life.
On HuffPost: Upload a picture to the slideshow below of your Look
Via Twitter: Tweet the picture of your Look to@HuffPostParents with hashtag #thelook
A couple rules:
The picture or tweet must be left before noon eastern time on Wednesday, April 4, 2012.
Open to legal resident of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older. You may enter one time. One winner will be selected in a random drawing. Please enter only once. Click here for complete Official Rules.