Thursday, 11 June 2020

Lockdown Teen Wrangling - or is it Lockdown Parent Management?

Lockdown is pretty crap, there's no doubt about it, but it's certainly giving me the chance to work on some of my parenting skills.  I've always been a 'You've started so you may as well finish' kind of mum, but it's finally dawned on me that perhaps this is an approach I need to keep unspoken since - who would have thought it? - sometimes kids can work that out for themselves.  For example:

Boy:  'I'm so bored.  I think I might go into town.'

'OK.'  (Don't ask him if he's finished his schoolwork.  Don't ask him if he's finished...) 'What are you working on?

Boy:  'Imperialism in India.'

He starts to collect his books and I busy myself with making a cup of tea.  I have been drinking a LOT of tea during Lockdown - such a useful prop...   

After I judge enough time has passed for me not to seem too invested:  'Right.  Imperialism. Is it interesting?'

Boy.  'I don't know.  Maybe?'

Me.  'How much more do you have to do until you finish the bit you were working on?'  (Note use of past tense here: 'were working on'.  Very important.  Don't let him think you have any expectation he's going to finish it right now.  Softly, softly...)

Boy: ' Not sure.  I'll take a look.'  He flips open his book.  'Not much.  Probably ten minutes.'

Me: drinks tea.

Boy: 'I'll go when I've done it.'

I wait until his back is turned before I do a quiet fist pump.  But then, oh then...

'Don't do that, Mum.  It's so not cool. And you were doing so well, too.'



Go on - you know you want to...