As adults we have so many obligations, chores, expenses, things to do. We don’t need to tell the kids why we are busy, but they need to know that adults do have things that have to get done.
In a child’s life, they also feel they have things that have to get done. These things may not seem like serious obligations to an adult but to a child, especially one that is home all day without other children, they are. It is our responsibility as the adult to try and understand what there frustration is all about.
I’m sure by now you are all getting used to my examples…They are the easiest way to demonstrate my own thinking.
It is already past bedtime. Teeth haven’t been brushed, toys are still all over the floor but Jenny insists she has to send a message to her friend Veronica. What in God’s name could Jenny have to tell Veronica that can’t wait until the morning? What could be that important? To an adult, maybe nothing. To a child, it’s a matter of having something important to say. Their ideas are important.
Disclaimer: Again, I am not saying that kids should be able to negotiate their directives from parents. All I am saying is that you might want to ask why something is so important to them that it can’t wait. If they have a real good reason then that is important. If they can’t come up with a good reason, that is a learning moment where they learn that some things CAN and SHOULD wait.
My whole point is that children need to feel like they are being listened to. They are still the child and still are required to mind their manners and obey rules, but they can still express themselves. It doesn’t have to turn into a fight or a screaming match. If you give a directive and they have an excuse you could say something like this: “Okay, I see that you don’t want to do as I am telling you. Explain to me why, but remember it may NOT change my mind and you MAY be asked to do something regardless.” If you keep the ball in your court that is fine, but you can still listen to what they have to say from their side of the net!