My Five-Year Old Is Smarter Than . . . Me

Clichés fly out of my mouth all the time. I can't help it. My vocabulary is not incredibly lacking or anything so I'm not sure why I insist on throwing out these obvious, little catchphrases, but I seem to be incapable of refraining.

At least I was incapable until the other day. A run-in with my five-year old has empowered me to think before I open my mouth. Mostly I don't want to get caught saying anything else absurd.

Life isn't fair. That's my go to phrase any time my children complain about anything I tell them to do . . . or not to do. I would argue that it's one of the most commonly used clichés . . . and one of the dumbest. In reality, life is quite fair, but that's not the point of this post at all.

My sweet Tanner was in trouble. No big deal, he'd just made some poor choices. We got to the point where he was in bed for the night. In our home, when bad choices keep getting repeated, our ultimate consequence is early bedtime. It's the same for everyone and it works really well for us. And honestly, it works best with Tanner because he remains rational and logical even when he's upset. Get down and talk to him on his level and he gets it. He knows why he's there and he knows he's the one who chose to be there.

Well, this one particular night it was just too much for him to bear. He was missing something fun and couldn't resist the temptation to throw a fit. So, in I went to talk some "logic and reason" with my five-year old.

The conversation went something like this:

"Tanner, buddy, sit up and talk to Mom."

Between sobs, "Okay."

"Tan, you know why you're in here right?"

"Yes, because I_________."

"Right. And is it okay to act that way in our home?"


"Why not?"

"Cause it's not respectful."

"Right. So, it wouldn't be fair if you didn't get a consequence for your choice. It wouldn't be fair to Hunter and Haylee who made the right choice this afternoon."

"Yeah, but couldn't you let me out this one time? Life's not fair. You told me that.

Blank stare.

For the first time ever I couldn't think of one thing to say to get me out of my new predicament. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or wash my own mouth out with soap. My five-year old won an argument with his quick-witted, "good luck winning an argument against her" Mother. It was a landslide victory.

Of course, I still didn't let him come out of his room, but I did explain why life really WAS fair . . . and resolved to quit saying stupid stuff every waking hour.

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