Everyone parents differently.
When the kids were little I banned the two word phrase “I want”. One of my brother’s implied I was being too hard on the kids, because saying “I want” was part of growing up. I disagreed. Saying, “Please may I have a cookie or Could I please have a cookie” sounded a hell of a lot better to me, than them saying “I want a cookie” and expecting to get one as a result. As if to prove to me he understood the notion–even though it was a difficult challenge for sure, the boy wrote a prayer in religion class which read, “Dear God, Please help me not say the words ‘I want'”.
My husband is a very laid back dad. Sure when he gets angry we all scatter; primarily because he does not allow for arguing. He makes his point and regardless if you agree or not, he makes his point. I am always envious of this. The kids obviously believe they can sway me, so they argue incessantly with me. “Why do you always argue with me and not your father???” I’ve been known to shout at them on occasion. The doll answered once by saying, “Because you’re not dad.”
The boy lately likes to yell his responses to me. “Did you finish your homework?” I ask. “YES I DID!!” “Why are you yelling at me?” I say in reply “BECAUSE THAT’S THE ONLY WAY YOU’ll UNDERSTAND ME!!” “No, actually I’m more turned off by what you’re saying…how about applying an inside voice from now on…” “SORRY MAMA, I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!” “Do you talk to your father in this tone?” His tone of voice immediately changes and says, “No.” Why’s that?” “Because Dad doesn’t get on my case like you do…unless you rile him up.” Ah, in other words your dad is a pushover…I think; but keep to myself.
This morning our conversation went as such: “MAMA I HAVE A CLEAN SHIRT, PUT ON DEODORANT, ATE BREAKFAST AND TOOK MY MEDS AND YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE US LATE FOR SCHOOL–ALL BECAUSE YOU HAD TO TAKE A SHOWER!! Well unlike you, I can smell myself…I needed the shower. ” After a few minutes of rushing, we’re in the car and on our way to school and he finally lowered his voice to an even tone-perhaps because we’re in a smaller confined space. “You know Mama, you’re infuriating…” He informs. “Well bay, I can say the same about you…” I reply. “True…but you have to love me.” He said. “Are you implying that you don’t love me?” I asked; surprising both of us with the question. Smiling he said, “Only on days when I don’t have homework.” “Uh huh….and you have homework every day right?” “That’s right Mama!” He said and then laughed.
As we pulled up along side the high school building I said, “Let me ask you one more question…?” As he gathered his books he paused to look back at me ” Is that how you really feel or are you acting your age and being a smart ass…? He smiled, big and broad and then opened the car door and stepped out. “Have a good day baby!” I said as he began to close the door. But then, only for a brief moment he stopped; holding the door open he peered in and said, “You too Mama”. before slamming the door shut and walking into the school.
Well at lease he responded…which must mean something…and it wasn’t a yell.