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11.15.2010

Mutual Cooperation = Mutual Respect

I’m trying out a new formula for getting Tio to understand the importance of keeping his end of a bargain. We’ve been butting heads over him not doing his chores or letting down his end of a deal and expecting privileges anyway. I’m tired of a A grade student who can’t seem to follow simple instructions about TV and video game time, cleaning up after himself and then keeps asking me to explain it all over again every time he drops the ball.

I said, “If you behaved this dumb in football practice, Coach would throw you off the team. If you were this thick in math class, you’d be in summer school. This stuff is remedial and you know it. You can’t treat me like I’m an idiot, or like you want me to think you’re an idiot..”
He agreed he was being lazy and at least that got us off that mark.

I wrote down the following formula: Mutual Cooperation = Mutual Respect. “Do you know what that means?” He said no. I wasn’t surprised, though I should have been because we’ve been over it and over it. I explained that if we do what each other expects, we won’t fight and we’ll respect each other. Easy as that. His expectation of me is to have access to video games, get an allowance, get driven all over the planet to friends, sports, and whatever. My expectation of him is a set amount of vid/TV, do homework & reading, take out the trash, and make a bed. Oh, and while your at it could you brush your teeth a couple of times a day.

He’s already broken the deal. I can’t really decide if it’s simply laziness or if the concept of mutual trust is over his emotional abilities. Some children understand respect instinctively, others take a long time to get there. The report card he brought home yesterday with the A’s and “Outstanding” up and down the line makes me think he understands the concept. I just don’t think he understand why it should apply to him..

Unfortunately, understanding moral and behavioral concepts is more than an intellectual exercise.