Is It Me Or Is It You?

It’s time, again, to learn how to talk to my kids. After a week or two of grunting and groaning and moaning – and nothing else – from Dylan, I got out the book.

I first read How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk when I wanted Dylan, then my preschooler, to pay attention to the things I said. It didn’t seem right that I had to call him two, three, even four times before he responded.

Little did I know that he was classically ADHD and would require being called a dozen times or more, often, before he hit puberty.

Anyway, now I am re-reading How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk because Dylan had completely stopped talking to me.

On the way to his youth group at church last week, I got the idea that the problem might – just might be me. We were in the car, alone. It was only a five-minute drive.

I was yacking about something for a full two minutes before I realized that he wasn’t responding. He may have been listening. Heck, he may even have been grunting. But he sure wasn’t doing what I wanted him to do, which was to hold an adult conversation with me – which, by the way, wasn’t the least bit relevant to him.

“Why aren’t you talking to me?!” I finally screeched. “I keep talking and talking and you don’t say anything at all!”  I didn’t give him any time to respond. “You just don’t care about me at all!”

Dylan grumbled, “Just because I don’t talk all the time doesn’t mean I don’t care about you. I’m just tired, all right?”

This “tired” tactic has worked for him in the past. But this time, not so much.

“Seriously, Dylan,” I said, “If you hate me, I’d like to know now. Really. Is it me? Or is it you?”

“Yes,” he stated emphatically.

That’s when I realized it was ME. That’s also – thank God – when we reached the church and I somehow managed to let him go inside without making an even worse mess of things.

I happen to own a copy of How to Talk so I had no trouble starting to read it again right away. And as soon as I opened the book, I knew I had come to the right place.

It suggests, for example, that parents should not respond to everything kids do with a lecture. Go figure!

The book also says that perhaps parents would have better luck getting them to talk if we didn’t give them advice before they are finished talking. Who knew!

I won’t go into great detail about what the book says. It’s a whole book. This is the parenting Bible, and everyone should own a copy. But suffice it to say, I’ve been reading for several days and our family has had a much smoother, more peaceful and happier weekend. And Dylan and I have even been talking.

To think: once again, I had to change.

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