I used to think parenting was all rainbows and unicorns and butterflies and flowers. You raise loving kids who listen to you and respect you, who go on to be successful in life, and then take care of you in your old age. Then we actually HAD kids. I quickly realized it was more like Survivor where you need to outwit outplay and– on any given day– outlast your opponent. Sometimes you want to vote yourself off the island but hopefully over time all the listening and respecting will grow. Truthfully, sometimes parenting is a better match for Battleship.
You remember that game? The box said you combine strategy and luck to sink your opponent… and it showed two kids full of smiles. You’d try to sink the other kid’s battleship. Today my kid and I faced off over battleship breakfast. There were no smiles. It was a breakfast on the run today as we dropped off my wife at work before bringing the kids to school. We have those days. We’re a family on the go. Today the option was oatmeal– a place where you can design your own oatmeal and they make it in a flash for people on the go.
9 yr old said it would take too long
I said it wouldn’t
9 yr old said she’d be late for school
I said she wouldn’t
9 yr old said she didn’t want oatmeal
I offered her alternatives
9 yr old said she didn’t want them
6 yr old got her brown sugar oatmeal
I again offered oatmeal
9 yr old again said no to oatmeal
I again offered alternatives
9 yr old again declined
I told her she was being oppositional
9 yr old disagreed (surprise surprise)
6 yr old ate her oatmeal
I took them to school
9 yr old remained oppositional
I offered her last ditch oatmeal
9 yr old again declined
I dropped her off without breakfast
9 yr old couldn’t believe it
I sank her battleship
She lost the breakfast battle. I stood my ground. I said she’d end up going to school without breakfast if she couldn’t meet me in the middle. She didn’t. I didn’t back down.
So why do I feel like such crap about it??
She tried to call my bluff only there was no bluff. I wasn’t kidding. If she couldn’t pick oatmeal or a bagel or a sandwich or anyone of many possible choices, then maybe she was just trying to push my buttons. I pushed her buttons back. What the hell though. I’m the adult. Shouldn’t I have just given in? Let her call the shots and sink my battleship? No. I don’t think so. Sometimes parents need to make a stand on the little battles before they become big battles. Yes my gal is gonna be hungry come lunch time. Yes her stomach will be rumbling. Maybe next time she’ll realize she’s not going to hold me hostage over breakfast. Or maybe next time I can strategize a better way to solve the problem too. Even in the game of battleship maybe there should be a way to call a truce. Find me on Facebook at dadmissions.