TPE and TPA Defined
Tactical Parenting Error (TPE) - Everyone makes them, and you usually know as soon as you do because your child reminds you of your error constantly. For example, mentioning the park if you have no intention of going there, giving your hyper child chocolate milk before bedtime, making a promise that you can’t keep, introducing your child to a sugary food (like M&Ms…thank you Grandma). I call these tactical parenting errors because not only do they affect the parent/child dynamic at the time, but they also might have long term effects if, for example, your child asks for M&Ms every time you go to the store.
Tactical Parenting Adjustment (TPA) – This is a moment when you have to draw a line in the sand and dare your child to cross it so that they can experience the consequences. We’ve had two of these in the past two days. Two nights ago I had to tell Hailey that she would not get a story before bed if I had to come downstairs and carry her up for bed. I gave her every chance to make the right choice, and she did not. There was no story. There was 20 minutes of screaming and crying for Mommy to read her a story before she fell asleep. Next night no arguments before bed. Perfect TPA. This morning I had to take her Cheerios away because she kept getting up from the table and running around. Gave her two warnings and the Cheerios were taken away each time. On the third, she was told that this would be her last chance and the Cheerios would not come back if she got up again. She sat in her chair and ate them all with no questions asked. Classic TPA. No one likes having to make TPAs, but idol threats only work for so long. Sometimes you have to make the hard choices, and luckily for Hailey, I’m just stubborn enough to out stubborn her (at least for now!).