Like other parents, I’m frequently frustrated when the kids don’t listen when told something. The word "no" means no and "stop" means stop. Why don’t they always listen?
And tonight I realized one contributing factor to the problem.
While middle kid was at an activity, youngest went with me to a bookstore to read some books and have a hot chocolate treat. As we waited there for the drinks, I gently rubbed his neck while I thought about something else. And it didn’t even register when he – actually – politely asked me to stop. I was caught up in my mental world and enjoyed the sensation of being affectionate with my son. And then he used the phrase that struck me:
"Dad, you tell me that I have to stop when someone tells me to!"
I had to apologize for doing that, agreeing that he was absolutely correct.
So that’s something to remember when the kids are listening when someone tells them to stop. They’re frequently in their own world of thought and imagination, and if they do hear it, they don’t always have the self-discipline to stop doing something that they enjoy. This doesn’t mean that I won’t keep following up with them to remind to honor the word no, but I will try to use tonight’s experience to keep some perspective.