Give A Little, Get A Little

1 Oct

Before I had children, I saw a woman with a T-shirt (and a young child clinging to her leg) that read: Only 14 hours ’til bedtime!

Now, with three children of my own, I completely relate. Often, after a long day of putting everyone else’s needs first, Moms and Dads just need a “moment” And, that”moment” nearly always comes after the kids are down for bed.

But…not for all parents. For many, bedtime can be a power-struggle over who gets up, when, and how many times. It can take up to an hour, if you don’t play your cards right.

Enter The Bedtime Pass. According to Wendy Mitman Clarke from National Public Radio, it works like this: “Every night, parents give their child a five-by-seven card that is the bedtime pass. They explain to their child that the pass is good for one excused departure from the bedroom per night, whether that’s to use the bathroom, get one more hug, report a scary dream, whatever. After the pass is used, the child may not leave the bedroom again, and the parents are not to answer if they call out.”

In studies, The Bedtime Pass reduced the number of crying-fits and excessive “exits” to zero. ZERO. Now, that’s a system that works!

However, I feel pretty strongly that the “pass” idea likely has bigger implications that just parenting. Think about a significant relationship in your life in which one person feels frustrated at “excessive” behaviors that keep happening over and over again. Could a “pass” system work there, too? My mind travels to the harried Mom whose husband arrives home late often because he wants to meet up with friends after work. What would happen if he got a “pass” to come home late once a week? Would that help him be better about coming home on time?

It’s all a bit of “reverse-psychology,” but it’s really about control. Give someone a bit of control over their own choices, and you may be surprised how compliant they become!



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