Passport to Parenting: Quality vs. Quantity

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Passport to Parenting 1

Envision yourself at your computer working on an email. Then, your child appears, urgently asking you to come look at the butterfly he just caught in the jar in the backyard. He is clearly excited, wanting you to drop what you are doing and attend to his wish of wanting you to see it as well. On one hand, you think to yourself, “I am busy. He can’t just come interrupt me.” On the other hand, you think, “What’s the big deal? I’m going to see it!” But then again, you end your internal debate by saying to yourself, “I can’t give in to him. He will be entitled and think he can get me to drop anything for him.” So… decide to tell your child that you can’t come right now because you are very busy writing an email and you really need to finish it. In the next several minutes, which seems to last a lifetime, he stays by your side, whining and complaining about you not coming to see the butterfly. You try ignoring his requests, only to have him get louder and more demanding. You try explaining why you can’t go see the butterfly, but to no avail. He is relentless. He begins to tug at your arm to come see it, triggering a chain reaction: He tugs at you. You yell at him. He throws himself down on the ground crying. And you STILL haven’t written the email or seen the butterfly, even though you just spent the last 5-10 minutes engaged with him. Sound familiar?

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