As a parent, I hand out ultimatums all the time: do this, or you’re not getting that; stop that, otherwise there’s no this. It never ends.
Even though I’ve had a lot of practice over the years with ultimatums, I still sometimes have a hard time knowing when to keep my mouth shut. I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t follow through with them, they get ignored. And following through is sometimes difficult.
For example, when my behaviorally challenged (good behavior, that is–he’s excellent with bad behavior) son, Alex, gets in his head that he wants to go somewhere, about eight times out of ten he’ll wait until the last minute and then change his mind. The last major instance of this was right after Christmas, when he was excited about all of us going to the mall to shop at the Boxing Day sales. My autistic son, Chris, was all ready to go, waiting outside in the cold–if you’ve never met an autistic person, believe me, it’s not easy to change their mind about something they’ve been promised they’re going to do. We were all about to get our coats on, and Alex said he wanted to stay home alone. Although he’s physically seventeen years old, I’ve never left him alone at home. He’s Deaf, and with the mental age of a six- or seven-year-old, I don’t feel comfortable with it. However, usually when we say to him that we’re going with or without him, he’ll get his coat on and go. Not this time. He called my bluff.
With my ultimatum stuck in my throat, the rest of us piled in the car and left. I managed to get to the end of the block before I turned around and went back home. Sure enough, he’d had his fill of being alone and was getting his coat on when I came back in the door.
Since then, we’ve all gone out as a family once. I made sure to tell Chris that we were going to TRY to go out together, and I didn’t ask him to get ready until Alex was outside and in the car. I learned my lesson. Still have to wonder what my next ultimatum trial will be.
This post was brought to you by Just Jot it January and prompted by the word “ultimatum,” provided by Itinerary Planner! Thank you so much! You can find Itinerary Planner’s JusJoJan post by clicking right here. Please go and say hi! To participate in the prompt, please visit this post, where you’ll find the rules and you can leave your link in the comments.