Monday, January 14, 2013
I had no idea that as a parent, I would spend so much creative energy devising painful punishments for my children. Oh, I forgot, I'm supposed to call it discipline. No matter, I can still add "prison matron" to my list of professional titles as a working mom. My almost ten-year-old is grounded, sentenced to 10 days of solitary confinement in her room. We let her out for meals, bathroom breaks, school, and lessons in housecleaning. Yet she continues to be disobedient, disrespectful, and defiant. She refuses to take responsibility for her actions, insisting that "everyone is so mean." My patience is worn to a frazzle, and I've gone from, "Oh, do you need me to take away your new American Girl doll for a few days?" in a gentle, let-me-keep-my-temper voice to screaming, "I've HAD it! You've gone way TOO FAR!" I can tell myself that I'm going through a "testing phase," that my daughter is growing and learning some tough life lessons, but what I'm really wondering is how I can knock some sense into that hard head of hers. Right now, I'm thinking that one of the answers is repetition, repetition, repetition. I can do some deep breathing and call upon the Law of Karma. Whatever you dish out comes right back to you. You give out ugly, ugly is what you get right back in your face. You have to face the consequences of your actions. I figure it I say it often enough, even when my daughter claps her hands over her ears, eventually it will sink in. Much of parenthood involves manufacturing consequences (no TV for a week!) but with a little creativity, a mommy can allow the natural consequences to unfold. Coat, backpack, socks, shoes, and child can sit on the porch while mommy locks the front door and heads to the bus stop. Plates can be whisked away in the face of a glaring lack of table manners. Mommy just has to be creative and think on her feet. On the bright side, perhaps my problem solving skills will become sharper as a result of all of this. After all, someone has to learn something. As they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.