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My kid is a daddy’s girl. He is her BFF all day, every day. She prefers daddy over mommy any day and at any time – except for one: discipline.  That’s when I hear my name screamed out loud while she sits in time out. That’s when I hear my name uttered through the tears as she does her time. Mommy is suddenly the one she wants to cuddle with after being “sprung” from time out. So what happens when the BFF is away? The kid will play anything she can – from  heart strings and emotions to a tea party with her stuffed toys. It doesn’t matter what it is, she will play it with the exception of one thing – the game of following the directions given to her by mommy.

This kid has the hardest time following my directions. It’s not a medical issue at all because she follows them when someone other than me gives them to her. However when it’s me, she makes me feel as if I should give instructions in the following format:

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Who knows if that will work but at this point, I’m willing to try anything. However, I can’t help but to wonder how did she get to this point. I’ve been there since day one and yet she doesn’t listen to me. As I ponder why she ignores my directions, I look at other points in my life where I felt as if I have been ignored and I realize that it just hasn’t been her. It’s been my parents, my teachers, my counselors, my husband, my co-workers – basically anybody I’ve told what I want to do or what I expect them to do. To me, it’s always been simple. I know what I want and I expect to get what I want sometimes. It’s not difficult especially when each person I named wants me to do something they’ve asked me to do. They expect me to follow their directions to yield the results they’ve desired. So why isn’t it reciprocal?

I look to my kid for the answer. Perhaps what I say isn’t fun. Maybe what I say isn’t affordable. However, it still does not change my expectations or my desires. It still does not mean that someone should not listen to me or that what I said should be viewed as less in another person’s mind. My words should not only be valued but also followed if an instruction is given.  Why? Because it’s the respectable thing to do. I should be respected just like anyone else. As well as the person who I instruct on what to do should not feel as if I’m ungrateful if I dislike the results given if they’ve done something else than what I’ve said to do. It should have never solely been based on the instructee’s feelings anyway.

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Okay, okay, perhaps the only set of skills I’ve learned from Liam Neeson is how to threaten others on the phone which I never do. But it does not negate the fact that is what I learned from his Taken movies. If anything, I’ve learned how important one feels in another person’s life when their instructions are followed. They feel respected. They feel worth. They feel as if they are recognized for what they know or their experiences and that the reason why they have knowledge of it or have experienced was worth it.

It seems like after a time out, the kid will listen to mommy and her actions end up proving it.  I often pull the whole you might want to listen face on her. Yep, just like the one below.

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I neither have any answers nor am I looking for any as well. Just a small piece of encouragement to listen and follow the directions of the people in your life because you never know what kind of thoughts they perceive about themselves because you’ve decided not to follow their directions. It’s worth it to see someone else be at the very least happier because you respected them enough to follow their directions. That means some action must be taken. Something must be done. In more simpler terms:

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Not just things. One has to do things the way they were told. Yes, they must follow directions without feeling as if it is a blow to their ego. There is a reason for it just like there is a reason why I told my kid to sit down, or why I tell my co-workers to complete assignments on time, or why I tell my husband what I want. There are reasons people and they don’t have to be in your bucket of acceptable reasons to do things before you do them.

Until next time, try listening and actually following directions. It may just make for a better moment for the both of you.

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