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The Times
  • Loretta LaRoche: A little drama could help get your kids in line

  • It seems that finding underwear on the floor and wet towels on the bed are a constant. I also used to want to scream when I found half-eaten bowls of cereal swimming in milk sitting in the sink, or rings on the table from glasses that had wet bottoms.

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  • Have you ever been in a situation with your family where you’ve become a broken record and no one hears you anymore?
    Your level of frustration is at an all-time high, and you’re at your wits’ end. Don’t give up; instead, try a little theatrical ploy.
    Let’s face it, we can all get dramatic. Unfortunately, we seem to choose the dark side more often than the light. Some of us are masters at doing reruns of “Friday the 13th.”
    It seems that finding underwear on the floor and wet towels on the bed are a constant. I also used to want to scream when I found half-eaten bowls of cereal swimming in milk sitting in the sink, or rings on the table from glasses that had wet bottoms. Oh, there were other things, like rooms occupied by adolescent kids that looked as if they had been part of a crime scene and the loud, penetrating music that would make a dog cover his ears.
    I definitely spent a lot of years imitating my mother’s tactic –– threatening to use force –– which was ridiculous. My sons were much taller than me, so it was like a mouse yelling at Thor. They usually smirked and went on with what they were doing.
    I finally decided I had to lighten up and start introducing a little levity. So one day I started singing what I wanted them to do. I used a blues melody, stood on a chair and proceeded to wail that I was “tired and lonely and nobody gave a damn. I work all day and night, and never get anything right!”
    At first, they just looked at me like I was crazy, but I kept belting out songs, much to their dismay. I also tried a little opera, and some country western. I soon heard, “Mom, mom, we can’t stand it anymore, what do you want us to do?”
    I have also walked into the house with a boa and a tiara and, using a British accent, told them how disappointed I was that the house had became so disheveled while I was gone.
    I realize that not everyone is going to use these techniques, but trust me when I tell you that it does change the mood and often gets everyone feeling more playful. Try it. You might find you’re laughing yourself silly, or they’ll take you away and you’ll get a much-needed rest.
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