It’s okay to take your time choosing an appropriate consequence when a child misbehaves. Sometimes this feels like bad parenting, but that’s just not the case. As the older boys are aging, I’m finding it more and more difficult to figure out how to handle misdeeds in a way that is humane and wise.
Yesterday I left the house and the boys at home ended up having a HUGE fight. Threats were issued and according to some reports, toy weapons were drawn. It wasn’t a good scene. Hubby dealt with them in a long talk last evening. Today, another fight occurred while I was in the garage. I walked back in the house to hear an 8 year old screaming, “You’re and idiot!!!” and “I hate you!!!”. Neither of those statements is allowed around here, so he had to serve a consequence (two hours in bed).
The fight started when The Mercenary started pushing buttons and wouldn’t stop once his younger brother started showing signs of anger. Ultimately, the insults and “I hate you” got shrieked out of helplessness and rage. There’s nothing my little guy can do to stop his much larger brother from doing when conflict breaks out.
I can’t tell you how sick it makes me to have to issue a consequence to the victim. But he HAS to learn self-control on his own, regardless of how awful anyone else behaves. So after consulting with Hubby, I told him to stay in his room for the allotted time.
I also informed The Mercenary that I’m aware of the dynamics of this situation, and that I was thinking about it. Hubby didn’t have any suggestions, so I let it ride for a few hours while I pondered.
Thankfully, the solution presented itself. The younger boys are invited to a bonfire that the Cub Scouts are holding tonight. The Mercenary informed me that he was going to go along, as one of the Cubbie’s older brothers invited him.
It’s not okay to treat someone unkindly and then expect to crash his party. Nothing doing.
And voila! We have a consequence. Boys who are unkind do not go to bonfires.
I’m sure we’ll have yet another issue tomorrow. It’ll be okay if I take some time to figure that one out too. I know The Mercenary is convinced that I’m the worst mother ever. Quite frankly I have no idea how to counter that one…I’ll just wait for him to outgrow his foolishness.
In the meantime, at least I’ve gotten a win today, such as it is.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents who need creative consequences.
Photo provided courtesy of CPSutcliffe via Creative Commons License, some rights reserved.