Is Your Child Being Difficult or Just Curious?
I was struck by this question today as I went out with my sister and my mom to buy her some art supplies for her class.
Her birthday had just come and gone and I’d agreed to chip in to get her some of these art supplies which is what she wanted for her present. Originally, I planned to get her a very relaxing and fantastic full body massage.
But instead of getting her what I wanted to get her I decided to forego this and get her what she had told me she wanted.
And that’s when a very curious thing happened while we were at this specialty art store.
First off I never knew there were so many different kinds of supplies and mediums to be used in art. I just thought there were colors, paints and paper…then go to work.
As we’re in the store a very different picture became clear to me. We were having some difficulty locating some of the supplies because it is a very specialty type of store with poorly labeled aisles.
So one of the sales girls comes over and asked my sister if she needs any help because “You look like you have a confused look on your face.”
I chimed in with “Absolutely, we have a whole list of stuff to get.”
I tell the sales girl to stay here with us. This way we can get the entire list of stuff much faster than we ever could have if we had been fumbling around in the dark attempting to find everything ourselves.
My mom turned to me and said “Don’t be a jerk, she can leave.”
It was funny to me how my mom considered my request that this girl stay with us and do her job as somehow being rude.
The sales girl could be standing around doing nothing or she could be helping us find our stuff which would make more sales for the store… ultimately making them more money which is what she’s paid to do.
I’ve often been called difficult about things that just seemed intuitive and natural to me.
In the end, I got my way and this girl stayed with us the whole time and helped us find our stuff in under 15 minutes. My sister had done this kind of shopping before for previous classes and it had taken her well over an hour.
So I was elated that what could have been a more than 60 minute ordeal was trimmed down to a sleek 15 minutes and we could get the hell out of there.
Then we got to the register and it began again.
I always believe in negotiating most anything you do. I even have a movie rewards card where I get points for all the tickets I buy and at certain intervals those points allow me to get free popcorn, free candy and the mother lode…free movie tickets.
Haggling or negotiating is something everyone in the world is far better at than we are as Americans. For some reason we believe the sticker price is the price we have to pay and we don’t even ask for any discounts.
So my sister said she had her student ID and the clerk promptly said “We don’t offer any student discounts.”
So I started talking to the clerk asking her about what her employee discount was and she said 30%. So I started angling and asking more questions to see about using her discount for us. (She said a manager has to do it and none were present in the store at the moment. Very convenient but that’s another story)
And at a couple of different points both my sister and my mother asked me to “Stop being so difficult”.
As a side note, only moments earlier on the drive up there my mom was whining about how much books and supplies cost and that she didn’t have the money for those bills. Then when I attempt to ease the financial issues by getting a discount she attempts to cut me off. Classic self defeating behavior on her part.
I found this fascinating that me talking to the clerk and asking questions was seen by them as being difficult. If I’d been challenging her to go outside fight if she didn’t give us her discount that would be one thing.
But simply asking her questions and her doing the job she was trained to do they thought I was being difficult.
It also highlighted to me the differences between siblings and between parents and offspring.
So the thing I caution you is to act, preach and do the types of things you want your children to do so they can become the type of people you want them to become.
“Are you discouraging them from being the kind of person they want to be and you want them to be? Are you chastising them when they do something that could help them later in life and thus discouraging them from re-engaging in that activity?”
Take a look at some of the things you normally do and your child normally does and ask yourself how you react in those situations. Then decide if that’s the kind of reaction you want to have because your reaction either reinforces their behavior or slaps it down.
Let me know what examples you have and how you handled those situations. I’ll look forward to your comments