This morning I had one of those parenting moments that make or break you.
It was time to make my point… and break the pre-teen that thinks he runs this house.
As in typical mornings my 5th grader had plenty of time to eat bacon, torment his sister, and play on the computer. He just didn’t have time to brush his teeth or find his shoes, even with ample warnings.
I gave a final threat, “Be in the car in 2 minutes or I’m leaving and you will have to walk to school.”
I’ve threatened before and he always sneaks out just on time, or I wait a little extra.
Today I left.
WHAT?!?!? I made a threat and followed through? Why is that SO monumentally hard? He is 11 1/2 years old. He should know how to be ready at a certain time and he certainly is capable of walking to school.
He was PISSED! He was calling me on my cell phone the whole time I was dropping my second grader off. I decided to make a call into the office to warn them that he would be hoofing it and likely late. They laughed and said that they were looking forward to seeing him.
It wasn’t without anger and spiteful threats that he left. But he did. I talked to him via cell phone all his walk to school because despite my strong, mean, outward display of parental power, I don’t like the idea of my son walking 2 miles to school while so angry and upset. I know that no one in their right mind would steal an 11 year old boy, I mean, anyone who owns one would give them away, right? But there is still that corner of my ‘mommy-mind’ that aches to always take care of him and make everything okay all the time. But that is not what will help him become a man.
Our conversation as he walked was a lot of him threatening legal recourse, and me trying to explain that my main goal is to raise a responsible, capable, and successful man. If he doesn’t learn that there are consequences for failing to meet goals and deadlines he will suffer in the long run. I know he hates me. I’m okay with that. I’m not his friend. I’m here to help him become a man and this type of follow-through was long overdue. He has been given too many second chances. Real life doesn’t treat you like your mommy and daddy and he needs to be prepared for real life.
Kids need to know that our words have meaning and value. Without that, they can not trust us and they won’t learn to have integrity with their own words. The Husband and I are really trying to mend our faulty ways of hollow threats and empty words. We are making a strong effort to say what we mean and mean what we say.
I hope my son learned something today. I bet he’ll remember where he puts his shoes for tomorrow.
His parting words to me once he got to school, “Where are we going to go after school if you are in jail.”
Well, I reckon that’s not my problem. I’m thinking that I won’t have to fight people to brush their teeth or put on their shoes in the county jail. I might even get a meal without cooking it. It doesn’t sound too bad now, does it?
***If this were my son we wouldn’t have these battles! I would only have to worry about him ripping off my face and eating my fingers during his moody adolescent years. Fair trade?