I have always hated the “Because I said so” method of parenting. Probably because my mom never really subscribed to it. If there was something she wanted me to do, she almost always gave me a reason. I may not have always agreed with her reasoning, but if I didn’t, I could often negotiate or even debate why I thought another method would be better. Did I win? Sometimes. Did I learn a lot about how to make good points and clear arguments? Yes.
Fast forward several years, when my son had to read a biography for a school project. He really wanted to find someone in tech to read about, which I’m all for, so we went through Amazon searching for a free / cheap biography that he might be interested in. Then, I found a book I really wanted him to read. It wasn’t about a tech person at all. In fact, it was about a guy who was around long before anything my kid considers technical at all. So, how to spin this book to get him to want to read it?
“Hey, this guy basically founded all modern RPG’s.” That’s a pretty tech sounding job, right?
“Really? Why haven’t I heard of him?” Ah. My kid is so smart.
So, I guess I need to give him something more concrete that he might want to learn about. “He’s the guy that came up with D&D.”
Suddenly, my son sits up from his slouching position and starts paying attention. Little did I realize that even though he kept saying he wanted to read a book about a tech guru, what he really wanted was to read a book about someone who did something interesting. Interesting to him. The guy who came up with and designed D&D did that. So, it turns out all I really had to do was tell my kid who this guy was, and he wanted to read the book all on his own.
It turns out getting my kid to share my passion only took finding the thing about my passion that my kid found interesting. It should have occurred to me sooner, since our weekly D&D is just as much fun for my son as it is for me.
Have you ever started out thinking you needed to manipulate your kid only to have them make the choice you wanted without any trickery?
I call that a good parenting day. 🙂