How To Parent Like a Host from the Home Shopping Network
By: MomsandStories Admin | Date: September 5 2018
Last week, my almost 15-year-old son woke up with a burning sore throat. “It’s just a cold, Mom,” he tried to convince me, as he slogged through his summer job as an assistant counselor at day camp. He had no fever or telltale rash, but I had a sinking suspicion that this was not a head cold that would resolve by itself.“We need to get you a throat culture,” I informed him.
My children detest going to the doctor and having a swab the size of a conductor’s baton twirled around inflamed tonsils.“I’ll pass on that,” my teenager asserted, with his new found confidence from shepherding energetic eight-year-old campers from instructional swim to soccer and adjudicating seat squabbles as the benevolent dictator and counselor on bus #60.
My son must have felt pretty lousy, though, as his anti-doctor resolve crumbled when I insisted on an appointment.He even smiled when he realized that he had lucked into seeing the pediatrician with the gentlest throat culture technique in the practice.Sure enough, he had a case of strep throat, and three antibiotic doses later, he was already feeling strong enough to take a challenging bike ride with his brother.
With the bike team out of the house, I took a few minutes to fold laundry and flip through television stations.Somehow I landed on the Home Shopping Network, mesmerized by a “Christmas in July” sale.Warm-hearted salespeople were pitching 50-inch plastic snowmen, flocked Christmas trees, and shiny gift bags in a kaleidoscope of holiday colors.Even to this Chanukah-observant rabbi, those glittering light-up stars and wreaths looked pretty enchanting.How did the hosts cast their spell? How did they almost manage to convince me that I not only wanted, but also needed a 4-quart holiday bowl with a floral lace design?If only I could harness that kind of brilliance and psychology to convince my own children to study early for exams, complete chores, and do what they needed to do, our home would be so much calmer.The talented hosts of that television program could have talked my son into performing a throat culture on himself with a Q-tip. Convinced that I could learn something profound, I put the laundry down, picked up a sheet of paper, and started taking notes on how to parent like a QVC host.
No matter what the hosts are selling, they are beyond delighted to be offering you the opportunity to take home the sparkle neck sweater or flannel holiday sheets, and they are so excited.I really believe that the host is having fun when she caresses the fabric of a scarf and beams when she points out the charm of an unexpected button or detail.Instead of bossing my son around, what if I had smiled more and said, “I can’t wait to have the chance to talk to that funny receptionist and see how fast the strep test will come back!You are going to feel good as new so soon!”
Give an honest opinion.
Frequently, the hosts on these networks select a favorite item that they choose as “the pick of the show.”Without denigrating their other offerings, the host speaks from the heart about one special find.Credibility is crucial when raising children and even confiding about one’s own fears concerning gag reflexes and throat cultures.
It might be due to the Southern background of many of the hosts, but these vendors are unfailingly polite.Showing respect for our own children sets a tone in which dignified behavior is modeled, expected, and deserved.“Thank you for your cooperation in going to the doctor, kid,” goes a long way in creating an atmosphere and habit of civility, an attribute that is sorely missed in many areas of public life these days.
Be flexible, but have limits.
The hosts are thrilled to provide free exchanges and returns on the items, although there are distinct limitations set on the time period for returns.Salespeople explain that they run out of very small and large sizes quickly, and they don’t apologize for this merchandising reality.When an item is no longer available, the host redirects the viewer toward another opportunity.“Let’s call the pediatrician now so that you have more of a chance of having the doctor of your choice.If Dr. Lead-hand is the only doctor there today, we can still pick up some ice cream afterward.”
Be whimsical and tell stories.
Clothes for sale on television are not just red or blue.They are “lipstick red,” “wine,” and “berry.” The hosts have a knack for evoking poetic images and sharing stories of trips to Mexico or Australia.When we tell our children more stories about our personal experiences, they may be more open to learning from our mistakes and successes.
In the show I watched, the host assured the audience that the design team reads every customer comment and even integrates customer ideas and opinions into future products.As parents, we can let our children know that we are doing our best to help them grow and flourish.We may be in charge, but we’re open to improvement.
Provide easy payment options to our children.
Sometimes, growth comes in small increments, and all efforts are accepted and appreciated whether you are purchasing a giant lighting fixture or a set of glittered cardinals with plaid scarves.
The sore throat has passed, and I’ve pledged to take these sales lessons to heart. And as for that 4-quart bowl- it just might come in handy next Chanukah. You never know.
Sharon Forman is a mom, wife, reform rabbi, bar and bat mitzvah teacher, little league carpool driver, and owner of a mischievous dog.The author of The Baseball Haggadah: A Festival of Freedom and Springtime in 15 Innings and numerous essays on motherhood, she only watches the Home Shopping Network when folding the laundry.