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Email of the Day: My Son Had Great “Brat Potential”

By Dr. Laura on April, 23 2021
Email of the Day: My Son Had Great “Brat Potential”

I have two sons who are now grown. My eldest has always been quiet and respectful. My youngest son was very bright but I always said "He has great brat potential; I have to constantly keep him in check!" When they were 3 and 4, I took them for a haircut. My oldest son sat respectfully as his hair was cut. My youngest then climbed into the chair but began flinging his arms and legs around and screaming in his brattiest voice "No! I don't want you to cut my hair!"


I bent down to his level and stated very clearly, "You may not hit kick or yell at this woman. She is doing her job, which is to cut your hair. Your job is to sit calmly until she is finished. If you can't do that, we will leave and you will not get a treat from her when we go." But my son began screaming and flinging himself about again. I said "We're done!" As we walked to the register the hairdresser quietly asked "Do you still want me to offer your other son a sticker and a lollipop?" To which I replied "Absolutely!"


When she lowered the jar down to my sons' level, they both reached for a lollipop. I put my hand in front of my youngest son's hand and said "These are for little boys who sat respectfully and calmly and got their hair cut. You did not do that." This brought on the water works. After paying, as we reached the door my youngest asked "Can we stop at a store and get a treat?" I replied "Treats are for boys who sit quietly to get their hair cut. You did not do that." As we exited, I was quite certain people in the next town could hear my son's screams.


Shortly after arriving home the hairdresser called to ask if I had given in and stopped to buy my son a treat, to which I replied "Absolutely not!" She laughed and said, "I wish more parents were like you." Any embarrassment I may have felt was gone in that moment. I knew I had done the right thing.



My Son Had Great “Brat Potential”


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