A couple weeks ago I was chatting with one of my preschool moms. She was very stressed out and worried about how she was going to deal with her daughter when she became a teenager. I told her that the teen years are nothing compared to the preschool years. Interestingly enough, I don’t think she believed me.
For the most part, I do think that the teen years are fairly smooth. We’ve had years to teach our children exactly what is expected of them and that there will be consequences if they don’t act appropriately. Of course, there are some problems, but honestly rolling eyes, talking back or a slamming door is nothing compared to a screaming tantrum in the middle of a busy grocery store.
Lately, we’ve had a bit of a problem with one of our girls. It seems that her social life has taken on a bigger priority than her studies. Our usual method of
lecturing talking hadn’t been working so we had to figure out something that would work.
It started calmly enough as we laid out a plan to reinforce proper study habits. Our child didn’t really seem to care much and had a zillion different excuses as to why our ideas weren’t really valid. So Shaun and I took turns piling on a bit of
punishment consequence. I think it ended up with no TV, no computer (except for supervised school work), no phone, no sleepovers, no music, no hanging out with friends, no IMing…oh yeah, and she was grounded.
It’s possible we may have over-reacted.
On Friday afternoon, at the start of the four day weekend, our girl asked me if she would be allowed to go to see the movie that she and her friend A had already planned on. I knew that she was “grounded” but we never were very clear on what exactly that meant. My mind started to race, Iknowthatshe’sgroundedbutshenevergetstoseeAandI’mnottheonethat groundedheranywayshmmmmwhattodo??? “Talk to your dad about it” is what came out of my mouth. Not too surprisingly, her soft-hearted father agreed to let her go as a special exception.
When Shaun came home later that evening he wanted to know where our girl was so he could talk to her. When I informed him that she had left for the weekend to spend some time with her grandparents he just burst out into laughter. Um…sleepovers…I had forgotten that she wasn’t to have any sleepovers. (Does it really count as a sleepover when it’s at Grandma and Grandpa’s and you haven’t seen them in over a year?)
Apparently we aren’t so great at being strict parents. I’m actually okay with that as long as our girls work hard at their studies, are good respectful people and don’t throw temper tantrum in the grocery store….