Today’s parents need to learn to treat their children with a certain nonchalance. Incorporating the following sort of language into one’s parenting vocabulary will go a long, long way toward accomplishing that:
“Really? You’re actually wasting my time with complaints of this sort? Tell me something important for a change.”
“Tell you what? I’ll sit down in this comfortable chair and while I’m relaxing I want you to stand in front of me and try to get me to change my mind. I won’t, but you go right ahead and give it your best shot.”
"This is a problem YOU created, child of mine whom I love with all my heart, and I would suggest that you figure out how you created it and how you’re going to un-create it.”
“We’re not talking about this anymore. I’ve said all I have to say about monsters under your bed when the lights in your room go out and I’m not going to treat you like you’re stupid and keep repeating myself. Go to bed. Scream as loud as you can. It keeps the monsters away.”
“Why do you insist on hearing me say the words you hate the most? Can you tell me? It makes no sense. What are they? C’mon! Okay, here. Because I said so. Because I said so. Got that? It’s always, until you’re outa here, going to be the answer to ‘But why, Mommy?’ Because I said so. Now, go find something to do while you cook in your own juices. I don’t want to watch it.”
“Oh, really? Well, young person whom I cherish, you can hate me all you want. If I was your age and I was standing in your shoes right now, I’d hate me too I suppose. No problem.”
“Oh, but John, those sound so heartless!” someone who’s much too in touch with their feelings protests.
For the purpose of argument, I’ll accept that over-the-top characterization for the moment. “Heartless” is exactly why childrearing language of the above sort accomplishes putting the child in his proper place, getting him to stop thinking of you as a talking vending machine and respect you even though there are times when he hates the ground you walk on. Finally—in his or her early adulthood, maybe—he just might come to realize that you knew he sometimes hated you but you were perfectly okay with that and allowed it because you love him with all your heart.