Monday, March 12, 2012

Parenting 101 - Sometimes you Appear to be Very Mean to the Outside World

Parenting children with behavior issues is tough.  Sometimes to the outside world you appear to be very mean.  Consistency is necessary.  To give in to a child because you "feel sorry" for them makes you weak in their eyes.  You also become a target for manipulation and triangulation.

Sunday Lily had a rough day in Sunday school.  She behaved so badly that her teacher didn't know what to do.  So when I went to get Lily she was crying.  She didn't want me to talk to her teacher because she knew that what she had done was not acceptable.  When her teacher saw that Lily was crying she tried to console her and then went to go get her some candy.  I promptly said no to the candy and hustled Lily out to the car.

I knew that her teacher was taken back by my sudden removal of my child so I went back in to talk to her.  She told me that she felt bad for Lily when she saw her crying so she thought she would give her some candy.  However, after talking with me she realized that she wouldn't have offered her own children candy if they had behaved the way she did.  Lily does need compassion and understanding but she also needs to know that there will be consequences for her behaviors regardless of where she is.  She does not need to use the "poor child" status as an opening to inappropriate behavior. 

Next Sunday Lily will get to sit with us during the service instead of going to the children's Sunday school.  All of my children know that this is the consequence to behavior problems during Sunday school.  Anthony and has spent many Sundays with us and Dimples spent a few with us when they first came but lately she has consistently been able to participate without problems.  It is Lily's turn.  Consistency.  Sad thing is, I have had some people complain to me about that consequence.  We consider it to be the most natural consequence we could find.  If you want to participate you will be respectful of your teacher.

In other news:  Lily is now sharing a bedroom with Larissa.  Dimples gets up much earlier then both of the other girls and had been told many times that when she woke up  she needed to come downstairs and not to wake the girls.  Well, at this time that is not possible.  She was telling me today that she wouldn't wake the girls and wants another try.  At some point we will try again, I am just not sure when.


  1. Ours only go to church if they've shown throughout the week they can be trusted. They go to SS but then "big church" not children's church because there are too many teens who hold and "baby" the kids and we don't need that issue.

  2. I completely agree with the natural consequence approach to parenting. It works at every age and stage! It is not always easy to do and sometimes I have trouble following through with the consequences but I think that is the best way for my children to learn and grown into responsible adults (hopefully!)

  3. Oh I've had moments like that one with the Sunday School teacher... good for you for being firm. Kids need us to be consistent and they need boundaries to feel safe.

  4. I think holding firm and not rewarding poor behavior is good parenting for ALL children. When I am tired and less likely to police time outs and make sure messes are cleaned up, my kids recognize this and run amok. Getting them back in line is three times the effort and hard on everyone involved. It really is better that I am consistent regardless of how tired or busy I am and it's most fair to the kids.

    Stand strong!