We Don’t Play.

In the throes of anger and shouting, which I won’t lie…I do too much of, I often ask my kids (in the aforementioned loud voice), “WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT I WANT YOU TO BE WHEN YOU LEAVE THIS HOUSE?!”  Their answer, usually given in a small, remorseful voice, “a good person.”

So, when my kids aren’t good people, we don’t play.  We hit them where it hurts.  Sometimes, you need someone to come along and do just that for you.  We all need someone who loves us enough to do this in a way that is in your best interests, someone who does it to teach you a valuable life lesson and not just to make you suffer, because, you see, there won’t always be someone like that in your life.

That’s what a parent does.

Kids, I’m not your friend.  I’m your mother.  

FPD and I often hit our kids where it hurts.  We try to do it in a way that reinforces natural consequences.  We often have kids in our home that do things that would be surprising to others, but they aren’t at all surprising when you consider where our kids came from.  Lying, stealing, it’s all part of surviving for as long as they did with people who didn’t care to teach them any life lessons at all.  Well, other than the one about taking constant advantage of those that smaller and weaker than you are.

So, when a certain boy steals all the quarters out of the van, which results in his dad being left with no quarter for a shopping cart at Aldi, so that he has to lug a baby and 40 lbs of yogurt through the store, and the certain boy never says a word when he hears FPD recounting his tale of woe, and then the same boy tries to hand me the stolen quarters and tells me he “found” them, and then when I push him he tells you he “won” them from his friends, and only when I tell him that I’m going to go to school to ask said friends, does he tell the truth, well, that certain boy is getting hit where. it. hurts.

It becomes a ‘If You Give a Pig a Pancake’ type situation.

When you steal all my quarters, I won’t really want to do a whole lot for you.  I won’t want to drive you to the field to watch you play soccer, because, well, no one likes a liar and a thief, and they sure don’t want to cheer for one.  So, you won’t be playing your two remaining soccer games, because if no one cares to drive you or watch you, well, what’s the point?  Also, people aren’t really going to want to hang out after dinner with you cuddling and reading books, so while all of us do that in the evenings, you might as well go to bed.  Immediately.  Right after dinner.

Then there’s the issue of explaining what the practical problem is with lying.  Does it make you feel bad?  I know it does.  How do I know?  Because, child, I lied ALL the time as a kid.  Sadly, I had what my mom referred to as ‘the Catholic Guilt.’  She told me the guilt would eat me.  She was right, it eats everyone.  So, all while these punishments are happening, we’ll be talking about how, at some point, over the next few days, said child will want to come to me.  And he should.  Because if you feel like you’re sorry that you hurt me, sorry that you stole from me when you know how hard I work to put food on the table and clothes on your back, then you should say it.  It will help.  It will heal.  Because, I know you feel bad, because I’m your mom, and I know your heart.  I also know your brain though, and without a little coaxing, your brain is going to do everything it can to tell your mouth to shut up.  It’s called foolish pride.  So, until we’ve had that convo, well, I don’t know how much extra I plan on doing for you.

I’m your mom, so I’ll always love you, and I’ll always provide you the basics, but sadly, the covenant of motherhood says nothing about soccer, or swimming, or ipods, or all the other million little extras you receive.  Neither does life.  Good things never happen to liars and thieves.  And it’s my job to teach you that.  Because… 

I’m your mother.

And, yeah, I don’t play.

who knows ShyGuy will be coming to talk to her very soon.  His life is a little sad right now.  

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