My children don’t always like what I require of them.
I can understand that; I don’t always like what my authorities say, either. Sometimes it seems that we have only two choices: go along with dictates that are really painful, or carry the guilt and conflict of disobeying. That’s why I try to teach my children how to properly make an appeal.
One time when Tim was a young teenager he came home from having spent the day with Dad on the construction site. Tim was a hands-on guy and always loved to get tools in his hands and do work that made him feel like a man. That’s a good thing. Still, it’s a strain on a young boy to do a man’s work.
On this particular day, Tim came home really tired. On being reminded that it was his turn to do the supper dishes, he was not a happy camper. Fortunately, he did the right thing. He didn’t complain. He didn’t try to get out of it. He appealed to me.
He said that he had worked really hard that day and wouldn’t it be okay, just this once, to rearrange the chore schedule and get somebody else to trade jobs with him. He’d be happy to do the supper dishes tomorrow or the next day, but this evening he was just so, so tired.
Tim was never a lazy kid so I knew he wasn’t just trying to get out of a chore. I could see that he really was worn out. So I granted his appeal and adjusted the schedule. It wasn’t a big deal to anybody else in the house any way, but it was a big deal to Tim that evening.
They don’t have to choose between rebellion and grudging, resentful obedience. Mom and Dad are open to talk about it as long as you come to us with a right attitude.
Are you teaching your children that they do have an Option Number Three?