How are you? Today I wanted my 14-year old son to tell me his lessons. He wanted to play soccer instead. So here are the thoughts I heard him say out loud:
“I won’t spend my whole afternoon on this! It will take forever”
“As soon as I make a mistake, you’ll tell me off so it’s useless.” (I don’t tell him off for making mistakes because I love mistakes – they’re the way to a better learnt lesson – but I find interesting he believes that)
“You’re not doing any homework while I have to do mine”
“Anyway, you don’t want to understand I want to play”
“Anyway, I haven’t understood, it’s useless.”
What’s fascinating is that this is what usually happens, then while he’s still protesting he learns his lessons, tells them to me and eveything is ok after that – he can play soccer. I also wonder why he keeps thinking he can’t understand or succeed since he’s quite a good student. I tried to show him that those thoughts are not serving him. While he was having a break from his soccer practice, here’s the model we did:
C – homework
T – It will take forever!
F – angry, pessimistic
A – keeps playing soccer, protests, resists
R – it takes forever as he’s not doing his homework
We’ve devised a new model where he would learn his lessons (action) so that he would have time to play (result) because he would feel determined and optimistic:
T – When I’m done learning my lessons, I’ll be free to do something else.
T – I learn my lessons much faster than I think I do.
In the meantime, even though I know it’s a matter of minutes before he stops resisting and learns his lessons quickly, I also have my thought errors:
C – son resisting his homework
T – I’ll never manage to have him learn his lessons and he’ll never be autonomous.
F – tired, discouraged
A – I sigh, I go for a walk after the lessons are learnt
R – I’m managing my son’s learning and he’s not autonomous
So here are my questions: what other thoughts can I offer my son? Should I let him learn his lessons by himself and be autonomous, knowing that he’ll choose not to learn his lessons? Should I establish boundaries – if you don’t learn your lessons, then I’ll take your smartphone? To sum it up, what’s the difference between parenting and letting adults be who they are?
Have a great day!