For the most part, we are blessed with good kids. But every now and then, one of them will pull a boner.
This time it was First Born Son’s turn. Nothing epic, but certainly worth several well thought out words in an elevated tone to drive home how frustrated and disappointed we are. In a day or so, it will all blow over, but for now, there needs to be a line drawn and some consequences.
This has been our approach since we became parents, and fortunately, The Big Guy and I have been on the same page, without really having a discussion about it. I remember while we were dating (long before talk of marriage or children), trying to enjoy a meal at a restaurant while a young upwardly mobile couple tolerated, and indeed coddled their young child. Certainly old enough to know how to behave in a restaurant, it was fairly obvious that we were witnessing a case of the Tail Wagging the Dog. Whining, food thrown and indulgence. Understandable when the child is 2, more than annoying when the kid is 5. We looked at each other and basically said the same thing to each other, “If we have kids, we are NOT letting them get away with crap like THAT!”
One of the worst things I see is when parents use threats or ultimatums. These could also be considered boundaries. Nothing wrong with setting terms, the problem is when the child knows the threat is hollow. We have made a point of not doing this, and it has served us well. Its all about the follow through.
I remember when FBS was just a wee guy. We were at a friend’s house and he was enjoying the pool. I was done for the day and back in my dry clothes (fear not, he had enough safety and flotation devices on him, not to mention I was ALWAYS within arm’s reach). Anyway, I asked him nicely to come out of the pool to dry off; it was time to go home. He refused. I told him he had to the Count of Three (another favourite tactic) to get out of the pool, or I was coming in for him.
One beat after I said “Three” he started to laugh – there was no way Mommy was going to get in, she was in her clothes. I stepped right into the pool, sandals, shorts, tee and all, and hauled his scrawny wet tush out of that pool. From that day forward, he knew. There were consequences and not listening to Momma was not advised.
Years later, I coached his ball team. During a practice we were working on stealing home. I advised the base runner, who was a little meek, that he needed a more substantial lead off. Three pitches later, he’s still take two steps. I need him to take at least four. I tell him, “If you don’t get more of a jump out there, I’m going to make you wish you had.” He looks over at FBS who is the third baseman for this exercise. FBS just shakes his head and says, “She’ll do it man.”
Ironically, the runner had an excellent jump and was able to get to Home Plate with ease.
I took exception to title the Day Care teachers gave me; Hitler Mom, but that’s only because of the choice of villain, not because of the context. I don’t drop the hammer all the time. The Big Guy isn’t irrational. We save consequences for serious transgressions. Laptops and tablets, iPods and TV privileges have been revoked because of serious breaches of behaviour.
Which is why I identify, and respect the position of this father…..
Naturally, there are people who feel he is the worst example as a parent.
I feel I’m in pretty good company.