Sunday, January 03, 2016

Listening when our kids say NO.

We did wrong by Evan. And we apologised to him for it. That was after being angry with him when we were actually angry at ourselves for making that mistake.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened a few weeks ago. Packrat was part of the millions of fans breathlessly waiting for it, watching and re-watching the trailers and more importantly, showing it to JED. When it did open, he brought Muffin to the first show. Both he and Muffin dressed up and he was so proud of the fact that Muffin loved the entire experience.

But what he really wanted to do was to share it with Evan, his geek-buddy. Unfortunately, Evan wasn't all that keen. He gave us a long list of reasons.

1. He didn't like shows that weren't cartoons.

2. He didn't like going to the movies because it was loud.

3. He didn't want to go because it might be scary.

4. He didn't want to go because it would be too long.

We didn't give up though and we kept trying to organise an outing to see it. Eventually, Evan caved. This was after choosing to go to Gardens By the Bay, going ice skating with the neighbours and playdates over Star Wars. That should have given us a clue but as thick headed parents who thought we knew better, we ignored it.

45 minutes into it, I get a message from Packrat that it had been a waste of money and they were on the way home. When I got home, there were 3 teary-eyed children and a thin lipped Packrat. Jordan and Muffin were upset because they had been dragged out of the movie half way. Evan was teary-eyed because he felt that he had disappointed his father and had wasted his dad's money. He was seen trying to pry open his piggy bank to pay his father back the money for the movie tickets.

Packrat was upset because he felt that it was his fault. I'm with him on it. Not so much that it was his fault but that it was ours.

We hadn't trusted our son when he said he wouldn't like the show. Packrat couldn't accept it because it. was. Star Wars. I couldn't accept that because he loves watching stuff at home on television. It's his favourite past time. So how could it be that he wouldn't like watching Star Wars on the big screen? We had forgotten that it was dark and it was loud and he couldn't run out when it got scary or intense.

We hadn't respected him when he said he didn't want to go and bullied him into it. We had forgotten that we had a serious upper hand in this and could pretty much use the force to bend his will and make him go to the movie just because.

And we were both deeply ashamed of what we had done. Packrat apologised to him for not trusting his judgement and I hugged him tight and told him that we ought to believe him the next time he tells us he doesn't want to do something because he's eight and he's old enough to know himself. I don't know if he will remember this incident when he grows up but whatever it is, we hope he forgives us.


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