I have come to notice that everytime we have to pull off a threat or ultimatum with our child, it boils down to 1 thing – Time. The lack of it.
Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper
This realisation came about as I reflected on the words we used whenever we need to threaten, scream, raise our voices (and whatever else you can think of) at our child. It usually sounds something like this.
In our desperation to make up for time, we use quick fixes thinking that they would really fix things. Sometimes I would I guess, depending on how much of a tiger mum/dad one is or how fearful your child is of you.
However, in our life’s journey, we should have learnt by now that anything that is quick always has a tradeoff.
- Construct a building quickly and you risk its stability.
- Jump into a relationship quickly and you risk its sustainability.
- Drive quickly and you risk an accident.
- And the list goes on.
So a simple fix to this problem is to buffer in more time.
About 2 weeks ago, my wife had gone back to work and it would be the first time, in a long time, that my wife would not be sending my son to school. He had to settle for 2nd best – Daddy would be sending him to school.
He knew it and was reluctant to go. We went to the car, but he refused to sit in the car seat and be belted up. He struggled and kicked, nothing I did helped. I was on the verge of having my own meltdown and tempted to use the dark side of the Force (btw, I’ve recently taught my son how to say “I am your father” in Vader style).
But I had time. This was the redeeming factor. So I took 15 minutes to negotiate with him at the carpark, we even went back home to say our goodbyes again. Eventually he coorperated.
Knowing that it was a different routine from before, I had planned to leave house 30 minute earlier than usual and this anticipation paid off, I did not need to turn to the dark side.
So the lesson learnt? The next time, there’s going to be a chance in routine, you can expect some resistance. Then buffer in some time and things should be more manageable.
May the Force be with you.