Jake and I had another fight over something seemingly innocent such as the use of flour. Jake was using the last of the flour to make pancakes when I asked him to stop and use the pancake mix, we had a few boxes of pancake mix but no more flour and there had been no flour in the store the last few times I went.
Well, maybe I didn’t ask him, I overreacted.
“Jake! Don’t use the flour. We don’t have anymore,” I cried, as I rushed into the kitchen.
I already had told Jake to conserve the flour and to use the pancake mix instead.
I thought I was thinking dynamically. I was preparing for the future. I was using “best fit” given the circumstances. The “best fit” to me was to use the pancake mix since we had several boxes of it, as compared to very little flour, and none in the stores for the foreseeable future.
But, I wasn’t looking at Jake’s perspective. All I saw was Jake’s inflexibility.
As far as Jake has come, he had a hard time shifting gears and being flexible with my request.
After all he already started making the pancakes. He wanted to make pancakes from scratch because they tasted better and he had the time to do it. He wasn’t thinking of the fact that the store hadn’t had flour in weeks.
This innocent exchange caused a big fight and Jake got very angry.
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I should have let him use the last bit of flour while boxes of pancake mix were left untouched. Maybe he should have stated his case clearer, that he didn’t like the pancake mix.
At the time, I felt Jake should be able to look at the situation and understand my point of view.
Several boxes of pancake mix versus the last of the flour, to me, meant we should conserve the flour.
But maybe I should have been open to his point of view, he didn’t like the boxed pancake mix, and he already started making the pancakes.
I’m not that unreasonable. Looking back I have a hunch at what the problem was. Jake didn’t actually tell me he didn’t like the pancake mix until after the fact.
If, in that moment, when I panicked and over reacted about the flour he had said, “Mom, I want to make the pancakes from scratch because I don’t like the pancake mix.” I would have probably said, “Fine, but if you are looking for flour later to bake something you won’t have it.”
My hunch is Jakes negotiation skills are lacking, so instead of negotiating with me he just got angry. We are going to practice negotiating skills. We decided to do a counter factual of this incident. We are going to re-enact what happened, but do it a different way. We are going to use our imagination and think about what we could have done differently.
I also would like to go back to some of our other past arguments to see if negotiating would have helped in those situations.
I am beginning to have a hunch that Jake is overusing the strategy of just walking away from the situation, when someone says something he doesn’t want to hear. That strategy was good at the time, but I think he has evolved past that.
Jake has a ton of video on managing his anger so we should be able to explore this from a new perspective. I’m excited for this discovery. Everything we are learning will help Jake in the future and that is what saving experiences and creating personalized knowledge is all about.
It’s not about the flour.
It’s about learning how to use your mind.
It’s about how we teach our apprentice to use their mind to navigate dynamic situations with themselves and others.
Did I mention I love RDI ?