IF you ever find yourself about to cook your child's favourite dinner, stop!
Then go and ask that child what they want for dinner.
Chances are, they'll say what you're about to cook anyway. Then you say 'OK - you've got it', or some such. This is what's called giving your child "an empowering choice". Or at least it looks like it anyway.
The point is everyone wins.

Next week: Carrot or stick? What happens when you're out of carrots?

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Plan on crossing the road in Beijing with your kids some day soon? Just sing this little song (with thanks to Australia's Hector the Cat and his 1970s road safety ditty).

Stop at the curb
Look to the left
Look to the right
And look to the left again

Then look to the right
And look to the left
Check the footpath behind
And look to the right again

Then if the road is clear of traffic
Walk straight across the road (don't run!)
Walk straight across the road

Then get the hell back
Quick get the hell back
Or that turning car's just gonna hit you
Or a bike coming the wrong way
I know the little man was green
And Daddy used a bad word
But that's not what's important here (oh no)
That's not what's important here

Now let's try again
Remember what I said before
Don't assume too much
And we'll get through this as a family

Then if the road is clear of traffic
Still go use the overpass (it's much better)
Just go use the overpa-a-a-ss!

*  *  *

When rising late on a Sunday to find brown sugar scattered all over the kitchen bench, look at it closely before swiping up a big finger-full and putting it into your mouth. For I can tell you solemnly, sand does not taste as good as brown sugar.

*  *  *


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