This one really bugged me. I realized that it bugged me, because it made me feel like a servant. Like the only reason I’m here is to cater to their every whim.
You see, “I’m hungry” is not a question, it is a statement.
They were expressing a feeling of want and waiting for someone to jump to fulfill that want. Without knowing it, they were making someone else responsible, instead of taking ownership, of their own needs and desires.
I do believe that we need others, but what I wanted to change in my children’s thinking was the idea that their happiness was someone else’s job.
So I decided to try the “I’m bored” technique that I learned from John Ortberg. You can read about that here.
When they said, “I’m hungry,” I would say something like, “Me too,” or “Sure, it’s lunchtime.”
But I would not move to getting them something to eat. Remember, they didn’t actually ask me for anything.
When they would say, “May I have something to eat?” I would say, “Yes I would love to fix you lunch – or help you get a snack.” And then the Thank You came. Because they had asked me for something and I had helped them.
In the end, it taught them that
- I was not responsible for their happiness,
- to respect others,
- and to be grateful to those who served them.