There’s an ongoing dilemma going on in our house.
“Just a second…”
“Give me a minute…”
“OHHH…I just got started!”
All of these phrases mean one thing….I am asking my precious TBP to do something that he doesn’t want to do. Obviously, he is in the middle of a preferred activity and I am asking him to do a less desirable task. Usually, the chore that needs to be completed, could be done within minutes. It might be putting his shoes away or taking his dishes to the sink. As you can imagine, if putting the dishes gets that type of response than the idea of cleaning his room or running errands seems overwhelming!
I know this problem is not unique. In fact, I did quite a bit of my own “Just a minute” to my parents and I am quite sure that my mother tried it with hers. As I look back at different generations, this issue was handled far differently by my ancestors than I handle it now. I believe that my Grandfather (as sweet and gentle and giving as he was) would have not negotiated with my mother. My father was never amused to see my sister and I procrastinating after my mother requested and then reminded us of chores.
I am still tempted at times to use this “Because I said so” approach and then realize that the I-am-the-parent-and-you-are-the-child speech is lost on a kid like mine. In the earlier years (which are also described as the exhausting years), I was grasping at straws and temporarily tried on the authoritative parenting approach. It did not go well. My experience was that the more puffed up that I became, the more likely a simple request would escalate into a full on tantrum.
What do you do when you have a strong-willed child and an empty tool box of strategies? Parenting classes, internet searches, informal research, family therapist and lots of reading in the Parenting section of Barnes and Noble. With all of this (and trial and error of course) you learn. You have to…you have no choice!
Since my TBP is extremely slow to transition, we provided a visual timer and lots of warnings about ending video games or leaving the house. On most days, things are okay. When I am tired and feeling frustrated, I admit that the warnings can grow to be annoying and he senses my frustration and meets me with heightened emotions. I think about the challenges that his second grade teacher is faced with since his school day is filled with transitions.
When I am rested, I can remember that school takes a lot out of my son. He is less likely to be receptive to my interruptions on Fridays than he would be on Tuesdays. He feels as though the time he spends in school behaving appropriately, deserves a relaxing and unscheduled afternoon.
The truth of the matter is… no one likes to be interrupted really. As adults, we adapt. As parents, we almost expect that our show, phone call, reading, conversation, etc. will all be suddenly stopped before we feel that it should be. So I ask you readers…How do you handle this in your house? If you don’t mind, can you stop what you are doing and respond right now or do you need a second?