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‘Treat friends, kids the same’ by Erma Bombeck, teaches us a quick lesson on how we talk to our kids and gives us the chance to reflect on whether it is the way we think we do, or in fact want to speak to them.  Parental Choice discovered this poem following one of our talks ‘Motivation Matters:  Talking so children listen.’  This is one of many talks which make up the Parental Choice parental wellbeing programme.


On the TV the other day, a leading child psychologist said parents should treat their children as they would treat their best friend…with courtesy, dignity and diplomacy.

“I have never treated my children any other way.” I told myself. But later that night, I thought about it. Did I really talk to my best friends like I talked to my children? Just suppose …our good friends, Fred and Eleanor, came to dinner one night and…

“Well it’s about time you two got here! What have you been doing? Dawdling? Leave those shoes outside, Fred. They’ve got mud on them. And shut the door. Where were you born – in a barn?”

“So, Eleanor, how have you been? I’ve been meaning to have you over for such a long time. Fred! Take it easy on the chip dip or you’ll ruin your dinner. I didn’t work over a hot stove all day long to have you nibble like some bird.”

“Hear from any of the gang lately? Got a card from the Martins. Yes, they’re in Lauderdale again. They go every year to the same spot. What’s the matter with you, Fred? You’re fidgeting. Of course you have to go. It’s down the hall, first door on the left. And I don’t want to see the towel in the middle of the floor when you’re finished.”

“Did you wash your face before you came, Eleanor? I see a dark spot around your mouth. I guess it’s a shadow. So how’re your children? If you ask me I think summer school is great for them. Is everybody hungry? Then why don’t we go in to dinner? You all wash up and I’ll take up the food. Don’t tell me your hands are clean, Eleanor. I saw you playing with the dog.”

“Fred, you sit over there and Eleanor you sit with the half glass of milk. You know you’re all elbows when it comes to milk. There now, your host will say grace.”

“Fred, I don’t see any cauliflower on your plate. Have you ever tried it? Well try a spoonful. If you don’t like it I won’t make you finish it, but if you don’t try it you can just forget dessert. And sit up straight or your spine will grow that way. Now what were we talking about? Oh yes, the Gerbers. They sold their house. I mean they took a beating but, Eleanor ….don’t talk with food in your mouth. I can’t understand a word you’re saying. And use your napkin.”

At that moment in my fantasy, my son walked into the room. “How nice of you to come”, I said pleasantly.

“Now what did I do”, he sighed.


Parental Choice are experts in childcare and work with businesses to deliver parental wellbeing programmes to their employees.

Our programme includes a presentation on how you to talk to your children so they are motivated.  We find this to be a fantastically popular talk, why not give us a call and see how Parental Choice can deliver this to your employees, so they can develop the skills to talk to their children like friends…..

Parental Choice 020 8979 6453  |

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