Subscribe to Ordinary Parent Follow @ordinaryparent
It took less than an hour after I got my first smart phone this year to download Angry Birds. I was hooked from the beginning. I’ve beaten every level and now I’m working on getting 3-stars on every level. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I doubt you’ll want to continue reading. I won’t take offense.) But after a recent conversation at work about what angry bird we would consider ourself, I thought about extending the metaphor to parenting. So below are my thoughts on how to not parent like an angry bird.
When you launch this angry bird, you’ll notice it has a short fuse. After 3 seconds of hitting something it will explode. As a parent, I have no doubt you’ve encountered a situation where something frustrating has happened. I think it’s our job as parents, though, to not overreact and explode. We can’t have a short fuse and just go off on our children (or spouses) when something frustrating happens.
When you launch this angry bird you can tap the screen and launch it quickly along a tangent line of its current path. Let’s say your child has upset you in some way (which I’m sure my precious little girl will never do…kidding of course). You “launch” your parent talk and then go off on a tangent, either somewhat or not at all related to the main subject. I think it’s important to stay focused on the main subject or lesson you are teaching your children. If several things have upset you, focus on them one at a time. Make sure you’re explaining yourself to them so they understand why what they did was upsetting and level set on expectations for the future. It could be easy to get flustered or confuse your child while trying to drill home several lessons at once, so stick to the path you set out on and tackle the issues one at a time.
When you launch this bird you can tap the screen and split the 1 angry bird into 3 separate birds, 2 of which that branch out from the original path. This could be an issue for some parents who try simply do too much at one time. Children are very observant, a lesson I am quickly learning and have been told by many friends and family members. They will imitate what you do, and pick up on things you may not be aware of. If you are trying to do 3 things at once, chances are none of them will be done well. And you’re also likely to get frustrated and stressed, which won’t be good for you or your child.
when you launch this angry bird it is very straight forward; It stays on the same path from beginning to end. Part of parenting is to stay consistent in how you deal with your children, in that you don’t allow bad behavior one time and punish them for the same thing later. However, there’s also the side of assuming something will work just because it always has. This type of “consistency” may not be that helpful. I think it’s worthwhile to evaluate your plans of action before “launching” them each and every time something happens. Don’t just repeat what you’ve done before and assume it will work. You may have to adjust your plans as you and your child grow.
when you launch this angry bird you have the choice to drop an exploding egg on the target, after which the bird will launch off into the sky. As a parent I think it’s important to not “drop a bomb” on your children and then “fly away” from the scene. It would be very easy to go yell at your child, slam the door to their room and resign to your comfy place in the home or somewhere else, but how effective will that truly be? I feel it’s best to face a situation head-on, and be there from beginning to end, rather than trying to make a quick impact and then head off to something else.
when you launch this angry bird it acts like a boomerang of sorts, having the ability to fly over the target and then swoop back in and cause destruction. As a parent, I think this happens frequently when disciplining children. A parent may ignore for too long and simply observe. And then at some point in the future, decide to swoop back in and try to take care of the situation. As a parent you have to give your children space, but not to the extent that you are ignoring what they do until it’s too late. Be aware of what going on, as best as possible, so that you can sit down with your child and discuss any potential issues. The last thing you or they will want to do is swoop back in well after the problem has passed and try to make an impact.
Think these are stretching it a bit? Maybe. But can you see any other parenting metaphors in Angry Birds? If so, post them below.