When I was in high school, my parents used to refer to me as “the yeah buts girl.” My husband will tell you that if you that I am a master of excuses (I prefer to call them “reasons”) and always seem to manage to get out of doing things I don’t want to do. My friends will tell you that I my favorite word is “actually” as in:
Friend: Have you ever experienced the hazelnut and chocolate deliciousness that is Nutella?
Me: Actually, it’s pronounced New-tella.
I like to argue and debate. I enjoy the challenge of using reason and logic to manipulate my way out of tasks I don’t enjoy or into projects that pique my interest.
I haven’t decided yet if it is fortunate or unfortunate that my son has inherited my affinity for debate. He’s only 7, but is quickly honing is manipulation skills. Here’s a taste of a typical scenario:
Vinny, I need you to go clean up the toy room.
Awww…Mom, do I have to clean it up all by myself? I wasn’t the only one to make the mess. It would be fairer if you had Elizabeth come help me since most of it is her mess.
No, Elizabeth is doing something else for me right now, I want you to go clean up the toy room.
How about if I just clean up half of the mess and then when she’s done she can clean up the other half?
Vinny, I just want you to go down and start cleaning. Don’t worry about what your sister is doing, just get it done.
Can I clean for just 15 minutes?
No, you’ll clean until it’s done.
But what about Elizabeth? What about her toys?
Vinny (said in the “mom tone” that warns, “I’m starting to lose my patience”). Go. Down. And. Clean. Up. The. Toy. Room.
Can I get a drink first?
(By this point, I’m almost ready to yell.) No. Now!
When he first started working in his debate skills, I’d let it slide. After all, given my track record I thought it would only be fair to give him his chance to try to change my mind. It quickly got to the point, though, that I would dread hearing the phrase “how about…” come out of his mouth every time I asked him to do something. My husband and I agreed to change tactics and now, whenever we hear him gearing up for an argument we gently remind him that he needs to be obedient. Now the scenario sounds more like this: Read More