It’s been sixteen minutes since I turned on my computer and I’m just now feeling the flow of words. Usually this isn’t a problem. Anyone who knows me knows I can’t shut up. DH once asked after a phone conversation if the other person got to say anything. Usually when I’m having difficulty putting words to paper, it’s because I don’t know how to go about saying what I want to say, not because I have nothing to say.
I’ve been thinking about the curious conundrum of what I’ll call consequence parenting. They have to have consequences sometimes to learn. I hate this part of parenting. It’s not the things that make me mad, either. Those are easy. It’s easier to enforce consequences for bad behavior than for bad choices, at least for me anyway.
Say my kids are horsing around and break an object or put a hole in the wall (yes, it has happened) or brake a window (also has happened). These are the things that tend to irritate me, so it’s not difficult for me to pluck privileges from their hands faster than flicking a bee from my sweater (and you all know how I feel about insects) .
The tougher thing is consequences dealing with the mindset of the teen group when you don’t see eye to eye about issues like, when they can take the car, and why they don’t get their own car, and when they do have their driver’s license and they get that part-time job that they need to remember that grades should hold a higher priority than working and socializing right now. I want to make my point without seeming like Attila the Hun, but I’m not sure that is possible. I think we just have to agree to disagree, and wait for them to come around and realize that you were right all along. It might take another ten years to reach that point but better late than never.
Something else I struggle with is the “good enough” belief. For some reason, excelling isn’t on their menu. They want to know what is wrong with a B for a grade. To which I say, absolutely nothing if that is your best. It’s when I see no effort that the “B” bugs me. I worry about what happens when they get to something truly challenging. If they haven’t tested the waters of putting forth more effort in small doses, what happens when they need to put out a lot of effort? It’s hard to convey to a high schooler the competitiveness of getting into college, or the lack of jobs once you finish. I know sometimes they have to find out the hard way, and this is what is so, so painful for me. I know it’s necessary, but it is hard to watch. Like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon, it’s the journey that makes us strong.