Ever realize that when both mom and dad are around, it often becomes a group effort to get a child to do, well, anything? When it's just mom, she may ask her child to eat her veggies a few times, and if it seems like her efforts are futile, she accepts that kiddo won't be meeting her daily quota of vitamins and minerals and moves on. But when both parents are around, things have the tendency to get a little ... dramatic, what with mom and dad chiming in, offering words of encouragement and a Led Zeppelin audience-worthy round of applause when junior does finally take a bite of broccoli or pee in the potty. It's a little ridiculous, but still, pillars of the parenting community really attractive celebrities, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, do the exact same thing in their family.
During an interview for Maleficent, which Brad and Angelina's daughter, Vivienne, stars in as well, Jolie admitted that both she and Brad had to pull out all the stops to get their 5-year-old to cooperate during a scene in which she's supposed to catch a butterfly. "She just really didn't feel like doing it," the actress said. "I actually was holding the pole with the ball on the end and bouncing up and down and dancing, trying to make her laugh, and daddy was on the edge of the cliff she had to jump off, making faces, and all her brothers and sisters were egging her on. She eventually did it but she was taking her sweet time and not wanting to do it twice, certainly."
Of course, it's important for kids to always have support from both parents, but I think sometimes the pressure of having two adults in your face, cheering you on, trying to coax you to do something, could get to a small fry. Or, you know, if your kid's crafty enough, he may realize that he's got both parents right where he wants them in that moment and intentionally not oblige with what you're asking. Either way, it's a lot of eyes on them, and it could potentially have the opposite effect that parents desire. For instance, my daughter wouldn't dream of peeing on the potty when both my husband and I are in the bathroom with her, but I've gotten her to do it a few times when it's just the two of us, a few books, and 50 stuffed animals whose heads all inevitably wind up getting ever-so-slightly kissed with toilet water. As far as I'm concerned, that parallels Brad and Angie's child acting in a multimillion-dollar movie perfectly.
The moral of the story? Maybe we should back up a bit when everyone's around? Keep things more loosey-goosey and low-key with our kids. I suppose there's no way of knowing whether or not little Vivienne would have done what she was supposed to do were it only her mother there. But the silver lining? I bet Disney's got some great B roll.
Do you feel like your child is less inclined to listen to you if your partner is there as well?
Image via Xavier Collin/Celebrity Monitor/Splash News