From the mailbag:
My child always tells his friends that he'll be there for them if they have problems, or if they need help with homework, or what have you.
The problem is, after he promises, he often forgets! It's not intentional but it's starting to cause his friends to get mad at him.
How can I help him remember?
Barbara in Seattle"
My gosh, can I relate.
I remember vividly when I was in 3rd grade; a friend of mine was desperate for my study notes regarding the Spanish explorers in the 1400s to the 1500s. I happily loaned them out, my friend promised me she'd remember to return them….
And that's the last they were ever seen. 🙁
Now, I'm positive my friend had every intention of following through.
But when it came right down to it, words….are just that.
Utterly useless unless followed by actions.
I think that's when I first stopped trusting any of my peers (a trait which lasts to today). Prepare for the worst and hope for the best, you know?
This trait of your son's…you want to help him nip it in the bud, pronto.
You see, it's not just that your word is, your word.
It's also that if you promise someone, they generally trust you and count on you.
And when that falls through, it damages something deep and something precious.
To help your son overcome this character flaw, you can:
- Suggest he carries a notebook/reminder thingee and every time he promises something, he makes a note of it.
- Ask him to write his promise down on a sticky note and stick it to his computer or video game thingee.
- Help him realize that it's okay *not* to promise in the first place.
You're a wise parent to realize it can only get worse – lots of good luck to you in helping your son overcome it!