Life in progress

#JusJoJan 2018, the 14th – Ultimatum


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.

Author: Linda G. Hill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

39 thoughts on “#JusJoJan 2018, the 14th – Ultimatum

  1. Trial and error seemed to work out well this time! Many props to you, as I wouldn’t have had a clue as what to do. My sister has a son who has traits similar to both of your son’s…loves to bail last minute as well as addicted to a schedule or plan. A little bit o’ everything. But it’s only one kid, so not so bad. Having two kids who both rule the world? Yikes…. blessings to you, xo


  2. I give you so much credit for figuring these things out and navigating what seems to be such a difficult course.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Having raised a special needs child since she was 7 years old, who was 80% deaf in one ear and 50% in the other and shared the age gap as does your son, I know that exact situation. My advice is follow those instincts and stay firm. They do change their mind in a second, even if they are set on whatever it is. The tamprums will pass. With Christina, I finally understood what my mother meant when she said, Because I said so.”
    I can assure it gets better as they get older.
    Sadly, I lost her to cancer on Nov 6, 2017. She was 32.


  4. It is very hard to follow through on ultimatums sometimes, and, with my daughter, I have failed spectacularly on occasion as I opted for ‘the easy life!’


  5. Pingback: #JusJoJan 2018, the 14th ~Ultimatum | Margret's Life Journey!

  6. My family got an ultimatum every Sunday. My dad would announce “we’re leaving for church in 10 minutes and if you’re not in the car I am leaving without you”. I was so scared to be left, I have vivid memories of finishing putting on my socks and shoes in the car every Sunday. To this day, I am 10 minutes early everywhere I go.


  7. Yep. I had battles of wills with my parents too as a kid. I never changed my mind last minute about going out, but I outlasted them at the dinner table when I didn’t want to eat corn! LOL

    Hey, just a heads up from an autistic adult– mental ages are really hurtful. Your boy isn’t 6, but saying he has a mind like a 6 year old will make people think of him like a 6 year old. He’s 17 with needs that are different than a typical 17 year old.

    I say this because my mom used to describe me as having an 8 year old mind, and people treated me like I was 8 until I stood up for myself. I’m in my 30’s and need assistance with some daily tasks, but I won’t tolerate people treating me like a child. Please don’t do that to your son. It’s extremely damaging.


    • Good for you for not eating corn! There are some battles that are impossible for parents to win, and eating is one of them. 🙂
      Sorry to hear of your bad experience. When people meet my son in person, I allow them to come to their own conclusions – I mentioned it here only as a reference regarding how he would manage on his own if there was an emergency. But you’re quite right – I will pay more attention to how I describe him when I must. 🙂 Thank you for your perspective.
      My seventeen-year-old isn’t autistic, by the way. My son who is, is twenty-two.


  8. I always found it hard to follow through as it meant action rather than words, lets face it the words were so much easier than the actions….


  9. It’s like juggling and tap dancing all at once isn’t it Linda!


  10. The trials and tribulations of parenthood… in your case seasoned with extra dimensions!


  11. That was a good tale of the trials and errors of ultimatums. I don’t do much of that, but when I do, I’m very dramatic and hyperbolic, like “If you put your foot on my cushion one more time, I’ll chop it off!” Lies, I tell lies. But they get the point across.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Thanks for the opportunity to provide a word prompt. Ultimatums whether meant for good or bad only prove to rob both parties of temporary happiness whether short-term or long. The various postings on ultimatum gives insight on a variety of perspectives. I totally enjoyed reading your post.


  13. Ultimatums are tricky things. I can tell you that they don’t work at all with kitties…

    Liked by 2 people

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