A Chilli-ng Experience…
Daniel and I were shopping at Pick ‘n Pay today, and he was helping me choose fruit and vegies. I would grab the bag, and he would choose the fruit and see if it was a good enough piece to put in the bag. And so we went… apples… bananas… pears… nectarines – very tricky to choose those! Then we needed peppers, and onions, and finally chillies. When we got to the chillies, Daniel’s comment was “No ways mommy! I am NOT touching THOSE!”
Me: You can Danny, I promise. It’s only if you cut them open and touch the open part that you would get any chilli taste on your hands.
Daniel: Uh uh! No ways!
Me: OK. I’ll do the chillies. But do you think I would say you could touch them if it was going to burn you?
Daniel: Nooooo……… (still not sure)
But as he watched me pick them up and put them in the bag, he began to experience a mind shift, and slowly he started believing me. Sortof…
Daniel: OK, I’ll help you.
Me: Sure, thanks.
Daniel: Huh! It’s not burning me!
Me: I told you….
And then, in the ultimate ‘test’ … he took his little fingers and viciously rubbbed his eyes and said “So even if I do this, it won’t burn my eyes?”………. and I had to laugh.
It was just another example of how males/boys cannot learn just by simply hearing something. They always have to experience it first. It’s amazing. So when you tell your little boy “Don’t go up that tree, you may fall”… and he insists on seeing for himself just how high it is and just how he could fall, that is why! Boys just have to learn through experience. That is why they have to touch things, and pull them apart, and fiddle and experiment. Girls have the ability to think of consequences and repurcussions, while boys need to experience them to believe them. It is just how they are made.
So next time you are wondering why when you say “Don’t touch that it’s hot!” or “Don’t step there it’s muddy” or even “Don’t touch that it will bite”… remember that boys need to experience something to believe it or learn about it. And since this is often not an ideal time to let the natural consequence do the talking, make them pause for a second and ‘walk them through it’ in their heads.
Try having conversations like this:
Look – that pot has hot food in it… where do you think it got hot?
Boy – the fire?
Yes… so what temperature do you think the pot is…..? and then watch as they ‘live the moment’ in their heads and discover it that way. Simply telling a boy “it’s hot don’t touch” is not enough for them.
And try not to get frustrated… they honestly can’t help it. That is how their brains work. 🙂