Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Many Meanings of No

No. Such a small word. There is something definitive and powerful about it. To the normal adult it means what it says. No - "Do you want that?" "No." Okay, clearly you don't want it. "Can you go there?" "No." Okay, you can't go. To the teenage mind, no means many, many things and clearly has no power behind it.

Today's examples:
Son: "Mom, I want to go to Beckah's today. Can you pick me up tonight?"
Me: "No."
Son: "But what if her parent's took me there, can't you just pick me up?"
Me: "No. I have plans later and we cannot pick you up."
Son: "Can't you change your plans?"
Me: "No."
Son: "But I really need a ride home!"
Me: "No you don't because now you're not going at all."
Son: "But I already told her I'd go."
Me: "Then I guess you lied."

That was our first phone conversation. There were three more after it that had very similar outcomes. To my teenage boy, no is negotiable. It's probably my fault because usually after an hour of badgering me, I will cave and give him what he wants - but he knows that he has pissed me off and that I am not happy and he will have to kiss my butt repeatedly for DAYS to make it up to me. He's okay with that. I no longer am. At 16, he should be beyond this childish whining. Apparently he is not.

Tonights discussion was about a spontaneous trip up to a lake house in Virginia this weekend. We just found out about the opportunity today but the boy already had plans made. He's 16, it's not like he had plans to attend an important seminar or have tickets to a broadway show, they all involved ...well, HIM.

Parents: "We're going up to the lake this weekend."
Son: "But I have plans, can't I stay home by myself?"
Parents: "No, you're not old enough."
Son: "But I have plans, You can trust me."
Parents: "We do trust you but you are too young to stay home overnight alone."
Son: "But I'll only truly be alone for 16 hours. Can't I just stay home?"
Parents: "No."
Son: "Well I'm not going."
Parents: (Filled with rage at this point in the day) "You will go if we tell you to"
Son: "No."

AAHHH!!! Can you imagine him using this logic in different situations? How about getting arrested for something - "Gee officer, can't I leave this jail cell?" "No," says the officer. "But, I only broke a little law. You can trust me." Can you see it. Or how about "You see, boss, I would like to have finished that project but I had a date with my girlfriend. We wanted to have a picnic. Can't you just reschedule that presentation?" Boss answers "No." "Oh, come on, I mean can't these other people just cut me some slack?"

Pray that it ends soon. Before my head actually explodes.

1 comment:

Emily Cole said...

Ok, sounds like a daily conversation I have with my 6 year old daughter... I thought I wouldn't have to deal with her 'mouth' and 'no' negotiations until she was sixteen or so... by what I'm reading here... this is never going to stop??? Argggg!!!