Expert Parenting Advice
Practical parenting tips and advice from experts around the world

BINGO was his name

A parenting expert's advice on what to do when your kids poke you until you explode.

I took my kids along to the shops today.

As we were driving there, my daughter started singing "B-I-N-G-O, and Bingo was his name, ho."

At first it was fun, and I even sang along.

But she kept singing.

All the way to the shops.

And then all the way back.

Then there was a short break, and then at dinner time she started back up.


At this point, each letter was like a little pin pressed into my brain.

"B," she started back up.

"Please honey, can you stay quiet for a bit?"

"I-N," she continued, ignoring my pleas.

"I asked you nicely, now stay quiet!"

"G," she went on while staring me directly in the eyes.

"Shut up!" I exploded.

My daughter went quiet. But I could see in her face that the "O" was on the tip of her tongue, just waiting to get out.

Luckily, I noticed that I was very irritated. So before she could "O" me, I stood up, said "I am too irritated for this right now" and walked away.

The idea of simply walking away is something that I learned from Julie King when I interviewed her for our book How To Get Kids To Listen.

Julie King is an expert at dealing with young children, and the co-author of the two best-selling books How To Talk So LITTLE Kids Will Listen and How To Talk When Kids Won’t Listen.

When we spoke about how to manage your own negative emotions when your children start behaving badly, Julie said:

The hardest part is to notice that we’re going to that place. I’ll speak for myself. When my kids were younger, I would notice I was going to that place where I felt like I wanted to yell…let’s just say…very unhelpful things.

I wanted to say some loud, hurtful things to my kids when I was really frustrated. One of the things that helped me was to say, “I am so frustrated! I need a break,” and I would go into the bathroom, or sometimes I would go into my closet, which I share with my husband. I would step into the closet and close the door so the kids couldn’t get in, and then I could say some of the nasty things that I wanted to say to them so they wouldn’t actually hear it.

Julie King

In the interview, Julie also explains why you should avoid the word “you” when expressing your feelings…and what to say instead.

She also talks about why “playfulness” is such a powerful technique to increase cooperation, and shares a simple technique to use “playfulness” to get your kids to cooperate, that you can use even when you aren't feeling playful.

You can find the full interview with Julie King - How to use playfulness to get your child to cooperate (even when you aren’t feeling playful) - in our ebook How To Get Kids To Listen, available for free download here.