Won’t get fooled again
August 20, 2012 2 Comments
It’s not very often that buddy-child and I get into any kind of disagreement or ‘tiff’. Unfortunately, tonight I lost my temper due to some stuff that has been building over the past couple of weeks and we had a lecture moment while driving in the car (car rides really are great for those sorts of things).
It would be really great if kids hit a magic age number and poof, they think and reason and communicate like adults. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to quite happen that way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s way better to talk to an 18 year old than a 13 year old most days simply because of how much farther along they are in terms of maturity level and brain function. That doesn’t mean it’s always a great thing.
The past couple of weeks have gone like this;
“We’re going to the water park on Thursday so all the girls need to either stay over the night before or get dropped off at 7 am the morning of. We don’t have time to go picking people up because I don’t want to get up any earlier than I already am for this.”
Fast forward to “L and S can’t go because they didn’t get the time off work but that’s okay because I asked K and B and they both said they can go. K will get dropped off but we have to pick up B” (who lives in the opposite direction in another town… and can’t pay her own way in because her family is very poor and can only go if I pay – after she’s already been invited).
“K and I will take a cab to our place Saturday night after the party.”
“That’s fine but remember that we have to leave by 11:00 the next morning.”
The next morning after the party; “K doesn’t have a ride home” (to neighbouring town in – you guessed it – the opposite direction).
“I’ve been invited to a wedding next week.”
“Do you know when / where it is?”
“Do you have a dress you can wear?”
“Do you have any money left?”
“You spent all your money for the month? How were you planning on buying food, paying for gas, getting stuff for school?”
“I don’t know”.
“How are you planning on getting a dress to go to the wedding?”
“I don’t know.”
“So how are you getting home on Monday?”
“T’s parents will drive me.”
Monday comes “I don’t have a drive.”
Kid – parent (adult) relationships are typically that of dependent and caretaker. It’s how the world functions and while you work at trying to get the kids to start taking appropriate and healthy control of their lives, the adult is still the caretaker and the kids are still kids (in a perfect world). Unfortunately, they turn 16 or 18 or 21 or whatever magic age it is in your world that signifies adulthood and they are often still functioning in the relationship as kids – parents instead of adult to adult. There are key differences around how to interact differently that come off as respectful versus ungrateful and they have to do with learning how to start to think about the other people you rely on and ensuring that your plans fit with their plans and to stop assuming that you will be able to get what you want just because you want it. Most kids need a little help figuring out how to make the shift from one type of thinking and relationship to another. It often takes a lot of feedback and a change from the parents first in terms of how they will start to define the relationship and what actions they need to take to make sure the child learns this critical piece.
So we had our lecture moment and all the examples were used to explain what was “wrong” with the interaction and how it makes the other person feel and why and how it needs to happen differently. She’s been given ‘fair warning’ around my limits and expectations and now she needs to start making the shift. This will be a really tough one for her because she likes being the kid but enough is enough. It’s time.