Home » There WILL Be CONSEQUENCES?! Do You Hear Me?!

There WILL Be CONSEQUENCES?! Do You Hear Me?!

Quite possibly the biggest parenting struggle I’m having these days involves CONSEQUENCES.

I’m trying not to raise a complete jerk.

And that seems to necessitate a lot of effort on MY part.

Mac is by all accounts a pretty great kid.  Overall, we ask a LOT of him on a routine basis, and he listens well.  We praise him lavishly when we “catch” him doing good things.

He still has his moments. . .

Which means I have to be prepared to redirect him or otherwise get him to stop doing whatever the hell annoying/dangerous/practically criminal behavior he’s currently engaged in.

But here’s the rub:  THE CONSEQUENCES ARE MORE PUNISHMENT FOR ME THAN HIM!

Having been on the receiving end of punishment and consequences most of my life, I thought I fully understood what complete and utter bullshit the entire disciplinary process was. . .

And then I had kids.

And now I hear my own Mother’s voice echoing through my head on a non-stop loop: “This hurts me more than it hurts you.”

We don’t spank.  We reserve time out for the most dangerous and serious offenses.  So that means for minor infractions, I need a different tactic.

Of course, I try to keep in mind, the consequences should be immediately enforceable and relate to the undesired behaviors.

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW DIFFICULT THIS IS?!  

I have a kid that doesn’t care to watch TV, has very restricted access to other electronics, really doesn’t care that much about any toy we’ve EVER offered him. . .

I HAVE NEARLY ZERO LEVERAGE!

I often find myself scrambling for an appropriate consequence.

Last night Mac and I were in the Park before Chris got home from work (stupid getting dark early time change).

It was cold and the sun was setting so I opted to get Mac out of his stroller FAST for some immediate exercise.  We ran through the soccer and baseball fields, kicking around a ball.

He wasn’t really into it but once he saw me skip from the pitcher’s mound to home plate a couple of times (which DID NOTHING for my incontinence), he started circling around me singing what else but “All the Single Ladies!  Up in the club!”  (GAH!  That video.  Although, his accurate recall of the choreography, was impressive.)

We skipped for a short while but my bladder and my poor mastery of Beyonce’s lyrics cut things a little short.  At which time, Mac headed towards “the steps.”

There’s a big set of concrete steps leading up a relatively steep hill from the ball fields towards the boat lake.  I don’t particularly love these steps.

For one thing, there’s no handrail and the steps are just chunky and steep enough that Mac could easily misstep and take a brutal tumble.  I have to push the stroller up the steep hill beside the steps while begging him to “Puh-lease hold Mommy’s hand!”  And of course, Mac LOVES these bitches and could play on them seemingly for-ev-ah.

Any chance he gets, he’s all over them.

And last night, I made up my mind, I was going to embrace them.  Running up and down the steps 26 times would be great exercise for him.  And perhaps pushing that stroller up and down the hill would convince baby brother to GET OUT!

So Mac, baby brother, the stroller, my bladder, and my new and improved attitude started marching up and down the steps.

Except after about 5 round trips, Mac decided he was going to lie in the grass beside the steps.  And refuse to move.

We hung out for a few minutes.  But it was cold.  And he had refused to wear his heavier fleece or his hat so I didn’t particularly want him rolling around on the cold ground too long.

I started prepping him that we were going to have to move on.  “In a few minutes, we’ll have to get up and keep walking, Mac.”

“Do you want to hurry up and walk by the lake before it gets too dark?  Do you want to see the duckies get ready for their bedtime?”

He just looked at me and laughed while rolling around.

Please don’t let there be dog poop there!  Please.  

“Mac! Time to move on.  You want to go past the school and go to their playground there before it’s too dark?”

Laughing.  Rolling.

Please don’t lick the grass.  You could get some gross intestinal worm!

“Mackinley!  Mommy’s walking this way.  Can you please come with me?  Be my leader to the school playground?  I need a helper, please.”

I started walking away but he called my bluff and just laid there on his back laughing.

“Mackinley! This is the LAST time I’m going to ask you.  Please.  We need to start heading to the playground NOW.  I will not ask again. . .If you do  not get up, you are choosing. . .”

WAIT.

What was he choosing?

THE PRESSURE.  THE PRESSURE TO COME UP WITH AN IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCE.

Of course, I KNEW the consequence should be going straight home.  No playground.

EXCEPT, that downright sucked for ME.

If we didn’t go to the playground, he might not be tired enough at bedtime.  I was going to pay.  What did he care if he wasn’t tired at bedtime?

 YOU HAVE TO BE AN ADULT DENI.  SUCK. IT. UP.

But you’re soooooooo pregnant.  

YOU CAN’T LET THIS SLIDE.  WHEN YOU MAKE A REASONABLE REQUEST, HE SHOULD HONOR IT.

Just this once?

STUBBORN KID.

Calmly, gently, unemotionally now, Deni. . .

“Mac, it’s not kind or respectful to Mommy to laugh at her when she asks you to please do something.  You are a great kid and we expect you to act that way.  If you do not get up and walk with me, you are choosing the consequence of. . .”

CRINGE.

“Of going straight home.  Riding there in the stroller.”

“Do you understand?  The consequence is that we will NOT go to the playground.”

AHHHHHHHH!!!!  This is the suckiest suck that ever sucked.  Please GET UP kid!  Please!

He was literally rolling on the ground laughing at me.

“Ok.  Into the stroller, Giggles.”

He was still laughing as I strapped him into the stroller.  Tears were streaming down his flushed pudgy cheeks.

“CONSEQUENCES!  CONSEQUENCES!” He shouted from the stroller as I marched us all the way home.

We got to the house and Chris, who had arrived home not too long before, threw open the front door.

Mac screamed “CONSEQUENCES!” one last time. . .but this time, it wasn’t so funny.  This time, he wasn’t laugh-crying.  This time, he was genuinely upset.

I’m not exactly proud to admit it, but last night at 10PM, as I tried to make my 39 week and 3 days pregnant self comfortable on his bedroom floor and get him to sleep, I smiled a little bit. . .

Yes, it was hurting me way more than it was hurting him. . .but as MY Mother also always said, “some day he’ll thank me.”

Lead me not into temptation. . .I can find it myself!

Lead me not into temptation. . .I can find it myself!