Parenting

Sticking to My Guns

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I was the Queen of the Empty Threat…

One thing my husband and I argue about is following through with the kids. He claims that I make threats and don’t follow through on them.

Threats like…

If you don’t stop right now, there’s no more TV tonight!

That’s it, I’m cancelling your play date!

You aren’t behaving– no sleepover this weekend!

He is right that I don’t follow through. In my defense, though, sometimes threats (empty as they may be) are effective enough. And following through would just cause more trouble for me…in the short term.

But I realize that eventually the fact that I don’t mean what I say is going to catch up to me. My kids will learn that even if they don’t listen, there aren’t going to be any consequences. 

Because they still get to watch TV, have that sleepover or play date, simply because I don’t want to deal with the tears that come when I actually hold true to my threat. 

Last Friday, though, I finally FINALLY made a threat and followed through. (Yay!)

Did it feel particularly good? Not really, because I had to deal with lots of tears and upset children.



Here’s what happened…

The preschool that my sons attend was holding its end-of-the-year family BBQ on Cinco de Mayo. All three of my kids had been looking forward to it all week.

That day, my daughter had four of her friends from kindergarten over. As typically happens on a play date, they destroyed her room. Toy bins dumped out, blankets taken off the beds, etc. It was a disaster zone.

I think that’s pretty much par for the course, but I expect that when that does happen, my kids will clean it up when their friends go home. 

They did not.

I warned them several times (probably at least five) that if they didn’t clean their room up (my five and three-year-olds share a room), we wouldn’t be going to the BBQ. 

I can’t fault them for not believing my threats, based on my previous lack of follow through.

I honestly don’t know what made me stick to my guns this time. Actually it was probably because I kinda didn’t want to go. I was having a shitty day and didn’t feel like socializing.

So, I put my foot down and said, “THAT’S IT. YOU’RE NOT GOING.” 

This started the begging and the tears and then more begging and even more tears when I refused to give in.

All of this continued for over an hour until the time came for my husband to go. I told him he had to at least show up and drop off the food items I had volunteered to provide. As an added dig to the kids, he took their two-year-old brother. 

Personally, I felt this was a little too much, but you know what?

We all survived.



The kids calmed down almost immediately when I said we could watch Zootopia and have popcorn and stay up a little late. They were majorly bummed about missing the party, but it didn’t ruin their whole evening.

I am hopeful that they will remember this the next time they are facing a similar situation. 

What stinks is that I’m still feeling slight pangs of guilt almost four days later. I felt like it was a total “Mean Mom” move that I did. 

Thankfully, my husband backed me up and I actually feel like it was the right choice.

As for whether or not my kids will absorb this lesson I tried to teach them, the jury’s still out…

I’ll get back to you on that one!

 

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