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Doing The Maintenance




My kids are really awesome kids. Just as anyone with awesome kids knows however, this is not some sort of magical condition. They behave as well as they do because of the constant love and discipline that we give them. Even then, I would never claim that my children are perfect, they bicker, they fight, they lie to me, and they moan and scream and complain. I consider myself truly lucky, simply because they do not do these things in public. Mt twins are ten now, and my daughter is nine. They are growing up, they have learned the basics, but there will never ever be a time in their childhood when my and my husband’s parenting of them becomes unnecessary. Children require constant maintenance.

My kids have been given more and more freedoms lately. They are allowed to play outside in groups, they are allowed to go over and play at the neighbor’s house with permission, and they are allowed to take walks in the neighborhood if they are all together and they take a phone along with them. We have very specific rules about check-ins and we have made it very clear to the kids that there will be punishments if they do not follow them. Yesterday, We had plans to go to a friend’s house for a St. Patrick’s Day party. The kids were excited about it, because it was a family type gathering, and their friends would be there. In the afternoon they decided that they really wanted to play with their friends down the street, which I honestly thought was a bit much activity with the party coming up as well, but I relented and let them go. They were told that they had to be back home at six.

Around five thirty, my son came home early and started to make himself some dinner. He asked me what time we were leaving for the party and I told him seven. I went to my room and when I walked back out into the kitchen he was gone, his food was deserted on the counter. For some unknown reason, he went back over to the neighbor’s house and told his sisters that they didn’t have to be home until six thirty. Now, I don’t necessarily think that he did this on purpose; he is a bit of a space cadet at this point in his development. Rather than purposely making up a lie, I think that he tends to convince himself of things, so that they will work out to his liking. Nonetheless, his sisters absolutely should have questioned what he told them and come to ask me about it before they chose to stay the extra half hour.

As I stood in the kitchen working, it dawned on me that they had been pushing me a little further each day over the past few weeks. They were getting quite proficient at manipulating their check-ins and it was time for a wake up call. I also had a very good opportunity to make quite a large statement regarding how I felt about them manipulating me by always passing the blame off to one of their siblings to avoid punishment lately. And so, even though I was looking forward to going to the party, I decided that the best parenting decision that I could make would be to take the party away. When they all got back home at six thirty, (promptly ironically), I informed them of their punishment. Of course, it did not go over so well. My kids tend to blame each other for punishments, so I spent a very long time explaining how everyone was responsible for their own actions in this incident, and how each one of them had the ability, and the responsibility to verify, with me themselves when they were supposed to come home.

My eldest daughter is still hoarse today because she threw such a large long screaming fit…well, I think that the pollen count is contributing as well. Last night was not fun, and it was not easy, but it was incredibly effective. I know that my kids will be paying a lot more attention to their check-ins in the weeks to come, and they will make sure that they are taking their directions from mom of dad directly. These are simply the kinds of sacrifices that we have to make for the benefit of our children sometimes. It may be difficult; it is often even harder on us than it is on them, but the payoff? At the end of the day, when they are transformed into responsible respectful adults…the work is more than worth it.


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