Here’s my common story:
When my child has made a poor choice, I mentally pinch myself and realize that I would better serve my child and my communication with NOT reacting emotionally to my child’s poor choices. So I start to TALK to my child. Very reasonably, I think. I don’t know about you, but I’m very good at TALKING.
I tell my child the reasons for not doing and for doing. I share illuminating stories to help my child understand. I give a lengthy list of my own issues and how they relate to my child’s current poor choice. I can go on and on about my own problems in making poor choices during my childhood. I totally devout myself to my child. I don’t lecture, I just TALK. I so want my child to UNDERSTAND the importance of good choices.
At the end of all of my TALKING, when I have finally run out of breath, time, something to say, I invariably ask, “Do you understand?”
My very smart child answers dutifully, “Yes.”
I smile, pat my child on the back, feel totally relived and life resumes. Whew. Parenting is NOT easy, but it has its rewards. Life is good, but I am so tired. Well, not to complain.
As time and poor choices continue, I begin to realize that not only does my child continue with poor choices, but she has inopportune times to make those poor choices: (I’m on the phone, company is coming, I have to leave for work, the baby is crying, the computer just went black.) Why do I have to de-focus from my task and re-focus on my poorly behaving child? I try to keep my patience, but somehow my wonderfully smart kid just is not getting what I’ve been TALKING about.
I’m tired. My child seems full of energy. I’m out of ideas and patience. My child seems to think this is all a game. It’s not a game, but she is definitely winning. Why else would I feel so powerless?
Maybe all I need to do is have one more TALK with my child, you know, explain it again so she will understand. She’s smart, she’ll “get it” as soon as I’m able to really find a way to TALK about it so it’s in her developmental ball park.
Stay tuned . . .