The Truth About “I Will”

26 Jan

I get it.  Living with an adolescent human is a struggle.  There is a struggle of wills.  A struggle over control, over letting go of this human who was once dependent upon the parents and needed their involvement throughout the day.  I get it.  One day they tie their shoes by themselves, wipe their own hineys, brush their teeth without being asked (progression not necessarily in that order). Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful they are becoming more and more independent.

But, now it really all boils down to the control issue.  When they were little, they pretty much meant what they said.  Ask them to do something or ask if they needed help and they were honest with their answers.  Then one day, you realize the beast has taken over.  It starts with, “I will, Mom!”

“I will, Mom!”  Here is the truth about this statement.  It really means, “Seriously, do you think I didn’t already know that and I am just going to do it whenever I feel like it — IF I ever feel like it and not based on when you want me to?”   I am coming to terms with this one still today, although it has been used in our home for probably 18 months strong.  “I will.”

Some days it means, “I never will.”  Other days, “I probably will.”    We’ve even called his bluff and let him know that we know what it basically means —  “No” coming from him.   That’s cool – that’s why we’ve banned him from giving us that answer.   So now when we follow up on late school work, remind him the room needs to be cleaned, underwear removed from entry floor or to please reapply the deodorant, we no longer get “I will.”   It’s been replaced with “Oh, okay.”

Less emphatic, a little dismissive, but gives us a sense of acknowledgment from him as if we’ve enlightened him on something previously unknown.  Not really a win for the parent scoreboard.  Rest assured, down the road if you want me to share how well this banning of the phrase rule is working — don’t worry, “I will.”

Parenting Tip:  Model the behavior that you expect.  [Matthew 5:33, 37  And don’t say anything you don’t mean. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong. ]

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