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Viral Post Praises the Magic of "Role Play" Parenting

From Princesses to Ninjas, these parents believe the secret to better-behaved kids is a little make-believe.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published January 18, 2024
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Image: Liderina | Shutterstock

Princesses take baths and ninjas leave no trace. These are just two of the many examples that moms and dads use when talking about the power of “role play” parenting.A post on the subreddit r/Mommit recently went viral after bringing up how giving your toddler imaginary roles to play and standards to ascribe to can help when it comes to daily tasks and asks. The original poster got the discussion going by sharing her “princess parenting” story.

“My daughter thinks she is a literal princess - she is five. I never raised her in the princess lifestyle but apparently my husband has. She now tells people (her classmates) she is a Princess. When I got that feed back I was like ok we need to correct that what YouTube has she seen etc,” she begins.

“For background, We do the 1 parent 1 language thing. We are Greek, we live in Greece I speak to her in English and hubby in Greek. Apparently, hubby has called her a princess her whole life. He is also in a huge friend group and she is the only female child. They all call her princess, there male kids call her princess. They literally call her “Princess do you want this that etc,” she notes.

While the poster initially believed the outlook to be problematic and told her husband that he had to cut it out, he simply replied back, “Do you know how easy parenting is with the princess line?” After close observation, Mom quickly discovered “the most effect parenting hack I have ever seen.”

“She’s screams - he goes (roughly translated) ‘Oh sweet baby, my little doll don’t you remember princesses do not scream they speak quietly.’ Instantly she stops. She speaks rudely—same thing. She is fighting with her brother—‘Princesses use their words,’ she stops takes a breath and uses her words. Princesses pick up after themselves. Princesses practice their reading. Princesses listen to there mommy,” on and on she continues. “I feel stupid it has taken me 5 years to pick up on his magical parenting hack.”

“The only issue is school. I have been telling her she is our princess and other little girls are the princesses of their families. I am hoping she never catches on because ‘princess behaves this way’ is awesome,” she added.

Parents chimed in the comments with praise for this parenting method and their own special additions. “Roleplay can be so helpful with littles. I used to tell my son that ninjas leave no sign that they were ever there. You should be a ninja in the bathroom,” added one parent.

“For my son it’s dinosaurs lol. ‘Hey dude, Dinos don’t act like that, Dinos like to put their fork in the sink’ does task. ‘Bud, no yelling here. Dinosaurs remember to use their inside voice.’ He’s 2.5 and doesn’t always get it, but it’s definitely a good method,” noted another.

If all the hacks and tricks in the world won’t quell your rambunctious toddler or ease their tantrums consider these tips for how to deal with the terrible twos.

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