C is for Consequences.
This is a word I learned while reading Parenting with Love and Logic.
“You guys can stop working on this pile of toys and go do your chores. When dad gets home we will go for a hike but you can only come if you get your chores done.”
An hour and a half later Mr. Sexy arrived home. Denai and I were ready to go but the other two kids had done a lot of playing and wandering around. I really didn’t feel like going for a walk but it was important that there was follow through even if we were only gone for 5 or 10 minutes.
“Well, if you guys get your chores done in a hurry you can come catch up with us,” I told the kids. Marie gave a sad face but Michael threw a fit. He is 6 and still throws tantrums.
So we left the kids running around and this time they were productive. Mr. Sexy and I had a nice, relaxing walk with just Denai wrapped tightly to my torso. We got back around 10 minutes later and the chores were almost done. Michael was incredibly disappointed. Lesson learned.
It’s my personal opinion that some parents today make the mistake of taking on their kid’s irresponsible choices. For instance: What happens when Michael is 13 and he leaves his backpack at home? Do I change my schedule and rush it straight to him? No way. If there is a good time to bring it at some point during the day, then yes I’ll bring it; I’m no monster. But frankly, getting him his backpack won’t be my responsibility nor will it be my responsibility to fix his mistake.
It’s hard for me to allow Michael to fail because he takes it so personally. However it’s my belief that with age comes growing responsibility from him. So right now we are starting with small things like chores and following simple directions.
I love the idea of natural consequences. Natural consequences allow for the discipline to be taken out of my hands and I can feel empathy for my kids. It’s time to go! Oh, you have been playing instead of putting on your shoes? Well, I guess you need to carry them to the car because we are out of time. I know it sucks. When I goof off instead of getting ready to go I get mad at myself too. Lesson learned. Although sometimes these lessons get learned more than once.