My friend told me this morning that she quarrelled with his son. Exam is approaching. Therefore, this week is study week. His son chose to study at home but mummy was not agreeable. Mummy's argument was there were many distractions at home like computer games, PSP, TV blah blah blah, hence it would be a better idea to study in the school library.
Who was right and who was wrong? If you ask me, both were not.
The problem was getting the message across correctly. Mummy saw the advantages of studying in school therefore magnified the disadvantages of studying at home. From her son's point of view, he interpreted as mummy would never trust me! So, he started to act rebellion.
If she had expressed her intention as (frankly, I hope I would be as calm as this when my girl reaches that age...) but, like it or not, we need to learn to communicate in their "teenager" language.
"You know, this is one of the big exams that will determine your future prospects. It is a chance of a life time. Mummy feels that it would better to study in school library because of less distraction, you can concentrate better and in case you need any reference book, they are easily available. But if you think you are able to manage your time well by studying at home and not distracted by TV games, mummy is fine with it. Mummy can make you some good food to eat while you study. "
We informed our children of the facts, pros and cons, and most importantly we throw the decision back to them. If they did poorly in the exam, they would not put the blame over mummy for "forcing" them to study in the school library and the next time would be a wiser decision. If his results turn out to be good despite the "distractions", then they really deserved a pat on the back.
As for his son, perhaps he wants the flexibility like he can just grab anything to eat as he studies along. Unlike, studying in library, may be peaceful but he needs to pack up, go to the canteen and queue for his lunch. Perhaps he is strategizing for victory but not wanting his friends to know about it?
They must be reasons why he chose to study at home. If he is willing to study before the exam, it means the exam is important to him. He knows what he is doing. The moment we as parents challenge his decision (by not believing that they made the right choice), he would close all communication channel and rebellious behaviour takes over.
Mummy would never be able to find out why. More and more misunderstanding and the gap becomes greater and greater. We want our children to talk to us. But sometimes our behaviour / respond cause otherwise. We only realised it when the damage was done.
I always have this dilemma. It is like a mouse trap. We fall into it over and over again just like the mouse and yet we never learn from it.
Sigh... not easy to be parents indeed...