Michael has a hard time following rules. Boy, does he ever. Lately he’s been questioning everything his father and I tell him to do. To some degree we both know that this is healthy, but on the other hand, learning to follow rules is a part of life. Michael doesn’t like to hear this and always challenges us.
“I don’t like to follow your rules. I make the rules! I’m the boss!” I am proud of his chutzpah, but know that the sooner he learns the world operates by following rules, the better off he will be.
“Michael we all have to follow rules, even Mommy and Daddy. If we don’t, we won’t have jobs.”
“And your bosses follow rules too? And my teachers follow rules?”
“Of course, everyone does.”
When he would hear this he would listen for a little bit, but at some point we would always be back to him protesting when he didn’t get his way. I’ve felt as Michael has in the past. I follow rules I sometimes don’t like or believe in for the sake of structure and order, and sometimes want to break the rules and do my own thing. Are there times this is appropriate? Sure, there are. But only when you’re older and know the cost of throwing things up in the air. In measured ways it won’t do serious damage, but you may upset a few people along the way. For instance, leaving a job you don’t like means leaving that income and the security that goes with it, along with the friends you have made there. That leads to financial uncertainty (unless you have another job), and loss of your social network. You would need to go out and mingle and make other friends not to feel isolated. Also, having an unpopular opinion on politics or religion can ostracize you, but as long as you do it respectively, you can get away with it. To each his own, most mature people say.
How do I teach this to Michael though? I am still learning some of these ways of breaking the rules myself. I’ve come to the conclusion that when he’s old enough to see the pros and cons of rule breaking, he will be ready to do his mixture of rule following and breaking. The trick is to teach him to be selective. People who aren’t border on the delinquent or criminal side.
Exceptional Moms, have you spoken to your Exceptional Children about rule breaking and when it’s alright, or are you waiting to introduce the concept when your kids are developmentally older? This has to be done in a way though that is non threatening to the majority and which resonates with who they are inside. I am still learning the concept of this for me, slowly each day. I’m sure I will have mastered it when Michael is mature enough to grasp real control. Until next time .