Communication is the key to good parenting

Sometimes being a parent means distinguishing between the information you want to have and the information you don’t. Yep, some things that are better left unsaid. Sometimes it’s to maintain sanity, sometimes as a precaution against high blood pressure, or maybe you haven’t figured out a way of disposing of the body. In short there are situations like these:

I get home to find my wife going on and on about something. What’s up, I ask her? “These.” In her hand she’s holding up two cloth-like objects, which have been subjected to mud or something in prodigious amounts. After a closer look, I am able to identify them as socks. ‘Do you want to know how your son got these this way’, she asks? Well no I don’t think so, in fact, I’m sure that I don’t.

On finding the desiccated remains of a grilled cheese sandwich lodged between the box spring and mattress, and having no recollection of even serving them lately. No I don’t think I want to know how long that’s been there. Green face (yes it did)? I don’t even want to speculate.

But sometimes you must have certain information. I don’t mean the kind they naturally volunteer, like the viscosity of snot, or the best beverage to induce belching. No, I’m not particularly interested in the smelly girl who sits next to you in class either. No I mean like when they get hurt. When this happens it’s more like pulling teeth. Recent example:

Middle child walks in the door, and he’s holding his arm to his chest.

Me: Hey Stuffy2, what’s the matter with your arm?
Kid: It hurts.
Me: What happened?
Kid: I don’t know.
Me: How can you not know?
Kid: I don’t know.
Me: I need to know what happened to help you. What happened?
Kid: I don’t know.
Me (now extremely agitated) Son, did you loan your arm to somebody?
Kid: No.
Me: So it was with you all day?
Kid: Yeah.
Me: So what happened to it?
Kid: I fell.
Me: Why didn’t you say that before? Where?
Kid: Outside.
Me: Grrr!!!

That’s why I shave my head. Otherwise I’d be yanking the hair out.

Stuffy, thanks for a good laugh. If ever a replacement is needed to fill in for Bill Cosby, I’ll be sure to nominate you.

Great story!

Thanks for the compliment Rico. The funny thing is, that when I talk to my kids about things they end up laughing, but hell at least they’re listening.

My SO is exactly like that. Of course I don’t need to know every little thing that he does - he’s not a child and I’m not his parent. But, when I do ask a question out of interest or concern, such as “What are you looking for? I might know where it is” I often get “I’m not looking for anything” “Stuff” or “Specific things”. Then later on it turns out that he was looking for a grubby shirt to put on to go up in the roof space to check if the roof was leaking. If a situation is non-optimal, his communication circuits short out.