Last week sometime I got into a disagreement with with my 7 year old son James. We were watching tv together, along with my 6 year old daughter. My daughter had just asked me something, that I answered. Not more than 2 seconds later, James also asked me something, that had he paid attention to me talking to Jordan, he wouldn’t have had to ask.
Now, you might say, well he probably wasn’t paying attention to you when you were talking to your daughter. You would be right, I thought that same thing. However, I did ask him, did you hear what I just said to you sister? To which he said, “yes,but…”. This is when I got irritated.
I said, so you did listen to and understand what I said to your sister, but you still needed to ask me this? Again, he said “yes, but…” I listened, I tried to understand, but by the end I was so frustrated that I sent him to his room. I thought about everything and let him sit to think about everything for a few minutes.
About 10 minutes later I headed down to his room. I sat on the end of his bed and reiterated everything that I knew to make sure that I in fact understood. Did you hear the question your sister asked? “Yes” he said. Did you hear my answer to her question? “Yes” he said. Did you understand my answer to her question? “Yes” he said. Then why did you ask me the same thing, when you say that you already knew the answer? “I don’t know, but…”
I then said to him, “you know what, it took me a really long time to understand this, but sometimes when you know you are wrong, the best thing to do is shut up.” You simply stop talking. Once you realize that you misstepped in someway, there are 2 options that are best the way I see it. One, you stop talking all together. Two, you apologize and then you stop talking.
Seriously, 99% of the time if you just stop talking you can save so much frustration, misunderstanding and conflict. If you really mean it then you can say sorry, but only if you truly understand why you are sorry. I told James that it is only in recent past with Paul, that my eyes have been open to this. Learning to stop trying to rationalize why I did the thing that frustrated someone to begin with. It doesn’t matter why I did it, what matters is that I did.
After saying all of this out loud to James, I asked if he understood what I was trying to say to him and he said “Yes.” Then, I told him that I loved him so much. That I was simply trying to raise him into the BEST man, adult, that I could. He said, “I know Mom, I love you.”
We are raising adults here. Each of our children, every moment is an opportunity to give them the tools they need to be functioning people in society. They may not like us very much as it is happening, but I can practically guarantee that they will appreciate us more when they are adults and have the ability to make it in this world.