No, I’ve never uttered that phrase. It occurs to me now that it’s not a bad phrase if used properly, just like anything else. I use it in my head when I need to make tough decisions about how to deal with my son. It’s the fine line between being a permissive parent and being a gentle/positive parent.
My son is challenging and has always been. He’s super smart, active, opinionated, strong-willed, argumentative…and I wouldn’t have him any other way. His being difficult has made me a better parent, and I’d dare say, a better person.
Sometimes we butt heads about things like personal hygiene. He’d like to have none of it. Sometimes he’d rather not leave the house on the weekends. Today was a perfect example. I needed to get groceries and feminine products, so I needed him to come with me. When we have stuff to do, we have to do it together.
I casually told him that I’d like to get groceries this afternoon and that if we went soon, most people would be watching the Packers game and there’d be fewer people at the store. Pretty sure I even threw in something about us sneaking in like ninjas to get what we needed. He said he didn’t want to go and he wasn’t going to go! There were probably a few colorful words thrown in because we use those at home and he likes to use them for emphasis.
So, I walked away for a few to gather steam, the good kind. I went back and said that it was important to go to the store because we needed food and some other things that were already used up. He suggested we grow our own food so we don’t have to go to the stupid store. I told him I appreciated his problem solving skills, but that would take longer than we had. I empathized with him not wanting to go and interrupting what he was doing. Since this was important, I asked him to choose whether he wanted to leave then or an hour from then. He said an hour, but that he still didn’t want to go. Got it. I did some other chores while he watched YouTube videos and played a couple of games.
When the timer went off, I told B it was time to go. He said something nasty to me and I told him he couldn’t speak that way to me and that I wasn’t speaking to him that way. I got my shoes on, grabbed my bag and headed to the car with him trudging angrily behind me.
We shopped, he lightened up, we rode the cart to the car and all was back to being right with the world. I could have just decided I wanted to leave, yelled at him to get in the car and spent a lot less time on the whole process. I want the connection though, even though it’s exhausting. I want him to know his feelings are important. I want him to know that I follow through on what I say. I also want him to know when it comes to the important stuff, we’re going to do it, whether we want to or not, but we’re going to get through it together.