I hate punishing kids

I'm not mad at youSeriously – I hate punishing my kids.  I do it, but I don’t have to like it.  I mean, we all want happy kids that do all the right things.  We all want those happy family pictures of eating dinner together while laughing over a funny story.  I shoot for that picture every day.  But, there are days when that just isn’t what is delivered.

Every time I know that I have to do that dreaded punishment thing, I have to run my words through my head to be sure that they are harsh enough to get my words across but not so harsh that they tune out and think I hate them.  And, while the initial “laying down the punishment” part is stressful, I can’t help but feel there is absolutely no way to administer punishment without making it punishment for the parent as well!

I had to lay down the punishment this week to the 13 year old. The one that my parents could never deliver when I was a kid.  “Go get your cell phone and your ipod.  You will be turning them over to me until further notice.”  Gah!!  First, there is the “I hate you for ruining my life” time period that hits.  Stomping around.  Moping.  Whining.  Thinking the world is this horrible place out to pick on just her.  Then, comes the “ok, I’m just going to act like it doesn’t bother me phase”.  This does make things a little easier, HOWEVER, it also comes with the fact that *I* lose the convenient way of communicating with her.  How unfair!! Hahahaha

The one reassurance for all this punishment is knowing that I love her enough to follow through with it.  I try to keep in mind that it’s like that old saying about getting a ship on track.  If you correct course early, it’s a minor adjustment.  If you wait too long to correct course, you are so far off course that it takes a huge effort to fix before you run out of time.  (Well, I don’t remember the exact saying, but it was something like that!)  I know from experience, when I let those little things slide thinking it will fix itself, it doesn’t.  It always escalates.  But, if I keep on top of things, the odds of it escalating greatly decreases and the little things that come up are much easier to handle.

Sometimes though, I wish this was a two parent home.  It would be nice if someone else could be the bad guy for a change!  But, on the flip side, I get the pleasure of all the extra love that others are missing out on.  So, for now, I have an extra cell phone and ipod that I am carrying around in my person.  And even with the pouting last night, I got a hug from her today and a smile when I saw the image here posted on her Facebook.  It’s now a joke between us.  Whew!  She still loves me! :)


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Becky
Becky Gruebmeyer has been a single mother of four since 1998. Her children, ranging from 13 to 25 years old, have been her focus while meeting all the challenges that come with being a working mom.
Becky
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