When it comes to strategies for dealing with children, in my experience neither the carrot nor the stick really works.
Not that I'd use a stick. What kind of monster do you think I am (1)? But I've learned over the years that shouting - which is as sticky as I get (unless there's toffee on the go) - has a similar impact as rain on a wax coat. My daughters are aware that the shouting is happening but it doesn't soak through.
Last week J resorted to the carrot option. It tends to have short-term dividends. And so, in exchange for treating them to Grand Theft Auto V, she asked daughters number one and two to tidy up. Fair play to them. They lifted and carried and tidied and even vacuumed. The house looked great afterwards. But by the next day the living room was already decorated with discarded shoes, school bags and hair baubles that the cats took great delight in playing with (2). And it turns out our daughters regard the tidying as a one-time-only deal. And Grand Theft Auto VI isn't out for a while.
Worse than that, the telly has been off-limits while daughters one and two drive around Los Santos running people over and generally being bad motherflippers. (I blame the parents.)
I suppose on the upside I can claim some knowledge of the GTA phenomenon now. Because I'm a bit vague on the whole video game thing. I'm old enough to have been young enough to have played the earliest video games.
I've a hazy memory of a journey through the guts of England punctuated by games of Pong played at service stations some time in the mid-1970s. And I know there were far too many student hours wasted playing Donkey Kong (3). But that was 30 years ago and since then I feel a huge tranche of pop culture has passed me by.
Now and again, daughter number two will twist my arm to play her football game, but if it wasn't for the fact she gets mixed up as to which direction she's meant to be playing I'd never score a goal. Frankly, I am to video game playing what Paolo Di Canio is to team building.
The worry is I'm just as bad at parenting too. I like the idea that we talk to our children in a rational, softly-spoken manner.
But that's not what happens. Voices start at normal volume, then accelerate to shouting in about 3.5 seconds.
This is neither carrot nor stick. This is putting out fire with gasoline.
They probably do that in GTA.
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.