Monday, May 24, 2010

Talking to an Adult

Philosophy for the day:
Talking to an adult means being able to give them the facts and knowing that they will make the right decision instead of just telling them what you think they should do.

Being an adult means actually doing the right things rather than just the easiest thing.

I started thinking about this regarding my own son. But I quickly realized that this applied to everyone. Both the people I speak to and the ones who speak to me.

When you have a child you give that child direction. You tell them what to do. Most people, most of the time, try to tell that child why it should be done. Why? You want them to learn to make the same decision for themselves.

It's easy when they are very little... Don't touch the stove because it is hot and you'll get hurt. Stay with me in the store because you're too little to see where I've gone to if we get separated. As the adult you know the bad outcomes that may happen. You know that the outcome will upset or harm your child and of course, as an empathetic parent, will be hard on you too.

I have always told my son that my job was to raise him to be the best adult he could possibly be. That means that at some point he needs to make his own decisions. And anyone, especially me, should be able to rely that those decisions are the best possible for him at the time.

That means that I should just be able to give him information. Simply tell him that the family party is at 2 pm.

Wow, that can be a loaded one.

I could treat him more like a child. I could tell him what time he needs to leave his house in order to get there on time. Remind him that if he's going to be late or not be able to come that he has to call the family hosting the party. I could even feel the need to call him the night before to remind him about the party. Or even tell him what he should wear.

But if I trust that he is now an adult, I should understand that he knows all of that.

But being an adult carries it's own obligation. He must make the appropriate decision, not necessarily the easy decision. He may need to put the date and time into his own calendar. Or he may know that he has to work and won't be able to even make the party. Then his decision will be when to call to express his regrets.

In an adult to adult conversation he will also have to decide if he needs to tell me whether or not he'll be going. Will I be grilled if he doesn't show up? Will I be worried?

Should I even be worried? That would mean that I had made an assumption on his decision. Oh wait, I'm his mother. I worry about my child and may always do so. But then isn't that treating him like a child instead of adult?

As an adult he needs to take the necessary actions. Yes, he knows the stove is hot and may burn him. That means that he also knows to be vigilant around the stove. Don't put his hand on it forgetting that the burner is turned on. Even turn the pan handles inward so he doesn't accidentally spill the contents.

If we're shopping together, he needs to tell me before he wanders to a different department. I shouldn't have to wonder whether to stay where I'm at even if I'm done to wait for him to come back to wander myself to find him. If I he tells me and I'm actually done looking at something I can wander with him. Or I shouldn't assume that he knows that I need him to carry the item I'm buying and I need him to stay around. But I also shouldn't assume that he will stay with me even if it is boring him. Again, we're both adults.

Yes, talking to an adult means you BOTH have to be adult about it. And sometimes that just isn't so. I just hope my son doesn't mind me taking on the role of child once in a while.

No comments:

Post a Comment