Lately Ben is starting to grasp the concept of emotional manipulation. Whenever I reprimand him he immediately tries to cute it up so I won't be mad. His main weapon: saying in the sweetest voice, "Hi, Mommy." So, we have a lot of conversations like this:
"Ben, don't pull Minnie's tail."
"Ben, don't throw toys."
The thing is, he keeps saying it until I respond, "Hi, Ben." To him that signals the diffusing of the situation. So if I'm actually mad and refuse to answer, what I get is:
"Hi, Mommy.... Hi, Mommy.... Hi, Mommy. Hi, Mommy. Hi, Mommy. HI, MOMMY!"
Eventually, if I don't answer he gets mad and throws a fit. Now, the following analogy is bound to offend someone, but I think it's somewhat fitting. The relationship of a toddler and parent is not unlike the relationship of an abuser and abused spouse. The abused spouse (i.e. the parent) doesn't want to do anything to set off the abuser (i.e. the toddler), because the abused spouse knows that will just mean more trouble for her. So I usually end up giving in and replying, "Hi, Ben," because it's such a stupid thing to have a tantrum over.