The answer, “no” was necessary the other day. My 12 year old son and I planned to see a movie together a couple of weekends ago. We had planned to hit the theater on Friday night, but something got in the way. Saturday came. Same thing. Sunday came and the day was free; however, my wife had come down with the 24 hour gut bug and wasn’t feeling well.
My son fully expected me to leave my wife at home with my two girls and their friends as they blew in and out of the house wreaking havoc wherever they went. The situation gave me a good opportunity to teach him a little lesson about the honor one should have for one’s spouse. I explained to him that I did want to go, just like he did. However, since my wife was ill, it wouldn’t be respectful to leave her with the girls and all they require. He moaned a bit, but I assured him we’d see the movie when I saw him again on the upcoming Thursday.
Make no mistake, I didn’t want to disappoint my son. I get him and my girls every other weekend and one night a week. I want to make the time fun (of course, without being “Disney Dad.”). I often fear that if I say “no” that I will be rejected. He, as a kid with two homes and two sets of parents, does sort of have options.
When I’m faced with this fear, I simply remind myself that my job is to get my son ready for the real world that he will face as an older child and adult. First, I got the chance to teach a lesson of necessary real world honor for my wife and second, how do deal with disappointment and delay.
By Thursday, my wife was well. My son and I caught the move and had a great time.
How do you deal with the necessity of no?