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De Jure versus De Facto Parenting

(I’m excited to get to pull out 1 of 3 Latin phrases I know with today’s post.)  ;^)

Wikipedia defines the “De Jure” versus “De Facto,” as what the law says versus what actually happens in practice.

I talk about this difference with parents frequently.  We parents often say things like “She needs to understand that no means no” or simply “He doesn’t listen!”  Behind these complaints is often a big ugly truth that just happens to have a Latin description: sometimes what we parents say isn’t what we actually do. 

An example:

Mom:  “Zachary, we’re leaving in 5 minutes.”
5 minutes go by unnoticed, Mom’s still chatting with friends, Zachary is still playing.
20 minutes later, Mom tells Zachary that it’s time to go and he resists.  Mom feels annoyed that he isn’t listening, and gets frustrated with him for it.  She yells, and then–only then–does he get up to leave.

 

But, what’s really going on here?  Is it:

A.  The child is really not listening, and/or needs to be yelled at to get his attention.

B.  The mother is not being real about the messages she’s sending.  She has taught her son that “We’re leaving in 5 minutes” is a throwaway comment, and that the real indicators of her meaning business are when she is (a) upset and (b) yelling.

Yeah, it’s B.  And we all do some version of this.  The hard truth is that if we want our kids to consistently do what we ask them to do, we need to be consistent with them first.  First step to consistency–paying attention to what we say & do, and making sure that they are one in the same. 

 

PS.  The #2 Latin phrase I remember is “Rara Avis,” which is what the fun professor who taught my Latin class called herself.  :^)