On one hand I want to support Zippy’s assertiveness, and I want him to know that what he has to say matters. I know that he is at the age where feeling knowledgeable is important and, as a very goal-directed kid, getting to do what he wants to do is important to him.
On the other hand, there are times that the answer is “because I said so” (even though I swore that would never be the case). As a parent, I’m juggling so many different things that sometimes I just need him to go with the flow so I can keep all of the balls in the air. I also want him to respect my role as the parent in our relationship. The more that I engage with him in debate, the less weight my words seem to hold and the more everything seems to become debatable. And, beyond our relationship as parent and child, I want my boys to learn that there is a time and place to disagree or stand one’s ground – both with adults and with peers. It is an important skill to have when it comes to building healthy relationships or being a strong leader.
So where is the middle ground? How do I give Zip the space to share his point of view, without getting drawn into a heated debate over whether he is allowed to catch snapping turtles with his bare hands or whether he brushed his teeth before getting in bed? (Definite NO on the snapping turtles and, sweetie, your toothbrush is still bone dry.)