My sister said something to me the other day which made me think. FIrst of all she said we over think things when it comes to our children. I totally agree. But without that over thinking, over analyzing, obsessing and worrying I wouldn’t have this lovely blog to entertain all of you out there. The other thing she said was that I expect my children to have super powers.
The context was this: I was saying S (who is 10) lost some of the freedom that he was granted this summer because he was consistently late coming home. In fact it was a nightmare getting him home. It was phone call after phone call and begging and ignoring and nagging. So if I wanted him to leave where he was at 10 for example it would end up being an hour later till he is home because of all the delays. (I missed 25 minutes of a Beyonce concert on the phone trying to get him to get in the car and go home! True indication of my stage in life right now!)
Side note: his freedom entailed him being dropped off to his cousins house and being able to spend the day with him without a nanny but with plenty of adult supervision. We would set a time for him to come home, remind him of it and make sure someone was there to pick him up at the end of the day when it was time. This is when the phone calls would happen. Now I know if that ‘someone’ was me, his father or the nanny he would have just left but that person was not the nanny or a parent so then running around, ignoring and delaying tactics would ensue.
The consequence for this was that he had to go out with his sister and the nanny all the time after that. They would still go to his cousins, or do something in a big group of kids but he was no longer left to go with the boys on his own. The fist place they went was to the ballet! It was not planned but it worked out that way and I was happy about it.
Since my sister told me she thinks I am expecting too much of them (my 10 year old and my 7 year old) I have been watching myself and wondering if I am setting them up for failure?
The last two days of the summer my two eldest children and I were in London while the rest of our mini tribe went home. The on going refrain from the second we were left together is ‘why don’t you do what I say the first time I say it?! why do I have to repeat myself 5 times before you move?!’. Every day, no in fact every hour it was the same thing. I expect that when I say ‘Come on kids we’re leaving’ that the TV would be turned off and they would be getting on their feet. I expect that when I say ‘please stop touching that’ that they would immediately stop touching it. I expect that when I say ‘no we can’t buy a dog’ that they would get that in fact no we cannot decide to buy a dog 2 days before we head home and that they would stop asking about it. Ok, replace dog with candy they only asked about the dog once but the candy oh my God they didn’t stop asking!
I expect certain behaviors of them at this point because I feel like it’s about time it sticks! If only because they must be sick and tired of hearing me say it honestly. I’m tired of it. And then after my outburst comes my rationalizing it to them and explaining exactly why I want them to act how I want them to act and why I think they are old enough to do this. Poor things I mean sometimes I talk it to death. I think, no in fact I am sure, that is because I want to make myself feel better about getting so annoyed at them being loud in an airplane when everyone is sleeping (This just happened by the way) after I told them consistently and repeatedly to lower their voices. But lets say they are doing something, anything, and I ask them to stop they are incapable of stopping immediately. They have to do it at least once more!
Is this all the time? I’m not sure… maybe it’s just summer time when rules are looser, they are watching more TV and eating more candy. I feel like they need a detox. Maybe it’s a personality thing. One does it more than the other.
So tell me, what do you think. Is it fair of me to expect my 10 year old to come straight home when he is told that it is time to leave? Is it reasonable for me to feel like saying something to my 7 year old one time is enough for her to respond immediately? Or am I setting my children up for failure?