My parenting and grandparenting approach has been to “sell” the experience to my kids and grandkids. I think kids take clues from how we present or react to things. (More)

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Yesterday I was giving my 6 month granddaughter green beans. Her mom had tried and couldn’t get any in. I mixed the beans with a bit of rice cereal and got into totally emotive selling mode. I smiled. I grinned. I smacked my lips. I said “yum yum.” I went over the top dramatic and guess what? Maddie was having so much fun she ate the green beans. If there was an Oscar for selling green beans, I think I would have at least been nominated.

Kids learn about how to react to life from the adults or older siblings around them. When a kid fall and gets a scrape we tell them, “Hey, you’re okay. It’s just a little bump.” I said that a lot and dispensed bandaids even when they weren’t really needed.

I recall a few exceptions to “You’re all right.” One my youngest, Maddie’s dad got the tip of his finger sliced off in a boat wench. I had him hold his hand up and squeeze the heck out of his finger as we drove to the ER. He asked if it was all right. I told him, “Not really but I’m sure the doctors can sew the tip back on and then it will be fine. Just keep squeezing as hard as you can cause that will stop the bleeding.” It was eventually fine.

My oldest punched his younger brother on the head. They had been asked to stop it. The oldest groaned and was holding his hand in pain. The younger one seemed fine. I told the oldest son, “Don’t ask me for sympathy. I told you to knock it off.”

His reply, “I didn’t ask for sympathy. I asked for ice. I think I broke my thumb.”

He was right in that he had broken his thumb. He too was eventually all right.

I was sharing with Maddie’s parents that she now liked the green beans. At suppertime my son asked me to show him how I got her to eat them. Maddie and I set to eating the green beans with the same display I described above. Maddie ate them and smiled and seemed totally cool. Both her parents were rather open mouthed watching.

My daughter-in-law said, “This explains so much about your son. Really I now know where his optimism and salesmanship comes from.”

His reply, “But I don’t like green beans even today.”

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Credit: Adobe Stock Images. Standard License.