There are consequences for actions. We all need reminders of this, now more than ever.
I have trouble with this sometimes. Trouble with my own actions and their consequences. I’m trying hard to be clear, up front, straight forward instead or RE-acting, lashing out. It’s not easy, and at no other time in my life have I experienced more doubt, more anxiety or had more questions about just this topic than during the journey of parenting.
In parenting, dishing out consequences starts early, during the wayward toddler years and all that. I won’t rehash it here, what I did with my
two little maniacs offspring, mainly because I can’t remember it all. Or maybe I don’t want to remember. I do know I made many mistakes, but that is part of parenting, isn’t it.
Dishing out clear cut expectations with consequences for disobeying or whatever, it’s an ongoing hurdle we face still today.
Especially these days.
Tween parenting is haaaaard… (woe is me. blah.)
The other morning, I got a text from my son while he was waiting for the bus with his sister. He was mad at her for making them late and they missed their bus. He used insulting language and I almost had a knee-jerk reaction to his text with a similar one.
I stopped myself. If I had sent him a consequence for calling her insulting names, he would have just lashed out at her more. The reality is that they both left late and they’re both equally responsible for missing their bus.
So instead of engaging with a consequence or a lecture, I texted him back a positive message to try and let him cool off before school:
“There will be another bus in a few, have a nice day today, I’ll see you tonight.”
They’re experimenting, the tweens. Experimenting with new freedoms, with language (unsavory would be an understatement), and blame. This isn’t the first time we discussed his choice of words he uses in texting and it re-confirms to me that he is not ready for a more powerful phone with more internet freedom.
I felt the need to reiterate that we have to practice consequences with regular household stuff so that when bigger stuff happens going forward, he won’t be all surprised when I outline consequences. My tweens can roll their eyes at me all they want.
I think we need a physical list of consequences. Lists are great, and I love crossing off items I complete off my list. The rest of the family is allergic to lists, and they push back and resist something fierce. I tell them ‘fine, we’ll do it without lists’ and then wait for the inevitable.
But this new list would serve as a reminder for all of us that actions (or in-actions) have consequences. They want to watch tv while doing a chore? I have no issue with that unless the chore is incomplete, takes extra long to complete, or is sloppily done.
“You watch tv when you fold the laundry or cook dinner”, they say to me.
This is true. But has anyone ever gone to a game or practice without a warm meal in their belly? Or leave for school without clean clothes on their back?
They can’t rise to the expectation. Or they won’t. They’re kids and they’re learning and they’re resisting and it’s all about fun and games for them, not chores and work.
Tweenageitis, I’m going to call this condition.
When the complaining starts tonight (let’s hope it won’t but realize that it probably will) I will once again remind them of the consequences.
If we don’t have a handle on these somewhat minor things (in the grand scheme of what’s to come during the teen years) then things will get more, not less, complicated in the future.
Actions have consequences. An in-action is also an action, and has a consequence.
On the other blog, a related topic: It all started with mumbling…