Just a Second!!

There’s an ongoing dilemma going on in our house.

“Just a second…”

“One sec…”

“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?

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11 thoughts on “Just a Second!!

  1. I’m leaving a reply because I want to follow this thread. My son and I are arguing so much these days(he reminds me of myself, oh my poor Mom). I’ve just resorted to telling him it’s not a question, it’s a request when I need him to do something. And then we usually do a little negotiating after that. Fortunately he doesn’t have any major meltdowns over it, at least so far.

    • Wendi-
      I totally know those days!
      A therapist early on, told me that kids like mine don’t see the difference between themselves and adults. They feel and act as though they deserve the same rights and respect and it is often surprising to adults.

      When I am at my best, I can explain the reasoning behind my requests and he usually gets it. We have trouble when I am stressed, tired and/ or in a hurry. I don’t have the patience and I bark orders which makes matters worse!

      If you don’t have a visual timer, I suggest it. I’m sure you do this but I try to get undesirable activities out of the way and provide extra time for going anywhere,

      Blessings to you and yours and good luck

  2. If I ask in a reasonable way and he ignores me and/or complains my new response is, “oh I didn’t ask how you feel about it I just said do it.” It seems to be working great he has nothing to say back…..yet! I have to make sure he is looking at me and he seems to understand that I mean business with this. I’m sure you’ve seen these phrases before but I thought I would share.
    I just told you my answer do you have a question about it?

    If you choose / than you choose to….
    Good luck!!! I know that figuring out mid sentence I’m arguing with a child and getting tricked into negotiation with my son it can be so draining. I agree that these kids do need to be able to come home and relax in an unstructured environment, but electronics are a privilege to us so they can relax drawing or or reading or even cleaning if they want to argue with me.

  3. I think your problem is universal among kids! My 15-year old daughter always gives me that line, along with eye rolls and an attitude. Truth is, if I don’t ask her to do something 15 times, she’ll never pull away from Facebook and do her chores. My hubs is usually the more strict one, he has less patience, and raises his voice more. I guess I don’t have any brilliant solutions- just recommend lots of patience.

  4. Thank you, Kelly, for this great reminder that it is human to feel annoyed (at times) when we are interrupted. Just keeping that in mind will help us feel compassion when our kids balk at our requests and show their annoyance at being interrupted. When my son was a kid (he’s an adult now) I had this problem. We talked about it He didn’t like the nagging, of course, but ultimately what he expressed was that he didn’t appreciate my assumption that whatever he was doing was less important than what I wanted him to do at that moment. So we came up with a compromise solution that really worked for us. Whenever I had something I wanted him to do I’d come up to him and say, “Excuse me, sweetie.” He’d look up and then I’d say, “I have a 3 minute task for you. Are you ready to do it now?” He’d make that call. If yes, then we’d set a timer (he was a big one for accuracy!) and it would get done. If he said “Not now, I’m doing something.” I would say, “OK. I respect that. When might you be able to take a 3 minute break?” Then he’d make that call. “In 20 minutes.” And we had an agreement. And I would hold him accountable (just in case he “forgot.” I realize that sometimes we need our kids to do what we ask right NOW, but when it can wait, then give them as much respect for the interruption as you would like and as much agency as possible for deciding when to comply. (Within reason, of course.) “I”ll do it next year!” is not an acceptable answer! LOL

    • Annie Fox-
      Thank you so much for visiting and your thoughtful comments! I would like to say that the dialogue in our house mirrors what you suggested but…
      Honestly, on my “better” parenting days there is mutual respect and that negotiating for when things will be done. It is the stressful and tired self that sometimes forgets the need for patience and compromise 😉

      • Stress and fatigue (which is also a stressor… along with hunger, feeling ill, being dehydrated, etc.) does usually trigger our most compassionate responses. At those times we are all likely to been in (quasi) “attack” mode. AS in “DO IT NOW!!!!” ;O)

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