The Gift of Gab

My son and I have done more arguing recently than talking.  I know what he should be doing to better his life but for some  reason at eighteen he does not just automatically say “Ah ha, you are right dad”.  Go figure.

So tonight I asked him to read the “Best Gifts For Kids” post including the entire article so we could discuss it. He agreed (I will explain that little oddity in a minute). I was hoping that reading something written by another parent might give him some insight into what I was trying to do for (to?) him.

It started off slowly but we had a great conversation. For once we both listened as well as spoke. I shared with him how I felt and where I have not been doing a good job of bestowing some of these gifts. He shared many of his feelings about my parenting style as well as what he thought about each of the ten gifts.

When discussing the gift of conflict he pointed out that I certainly did not shy away from conflict. He was, however,  surprised that I felt guilty about not spending time with him. (Both are part of the explanation of this gift.) His retort was that if I felt guilty about the time why didn’t I spend less time on conflict, he would. I responded that I never sought out conflict with him but that my priority was to let him know what I thought was right rather than to be silent  so on the surface we would seem to be sharing a peaceful moment. We went back and forth on this one for awhile.

We also explored many of the other gifts. This conversation was the one of the most intimate and intricate father and son conversations we have had in a very long time. It was worth far more than the $15 it cost.

Yes, there was a reason he agreed so quickly. A couple of months ago he committed to, at my strong request, reading for 1 extra hour per week and then discussing with me what he read. He did that twice and then stopped. I finally got tired of the excuses and stopped his allowance until he read– and talked. At the beginning of the night he was two weeks in arrears and beginning to have a cash flow problem. I offered him a quick 1 week catch up if he read the post and the article and discussed it. I try not to bribe but we needed some reconciliation. The gamble paid off big time. (And he is still a week behind.)

So  based on tonight’s experience I am adding one more to the extended list of gifts to your kids. The gift of gab–with your parents.

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About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

2 Responses to The Gift of Gab

  1. Frank says:

    Thanks for that…sounds like it worked out really great. I’m going to get my guys to read that book too. Sounds like it opens conversations…I like that a lot.

  2. 48facets says:

    Frank,
    This was both an opportunity for D to share some of his feeling about how I do things in a non-threatening way but also for a bit of self reflection.
    At one point he said he feels good when he does his chores before we ask. Then he said, “so I wonder why I don’t do that more often”. Hmmm

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