You know chaps me? What I hate the most about parenting? When my kids don’t listen to me. I’m so sick and tired of having to tell a child eleventy thousand times to go brush.
As much as I hate it, I hate something even more - I won’t threaten my kids.
Honestly, have you ever been really motivated by a threat? Probably not. And if you were, it wasn’t a positive motivation - you were acting out of FEAR.
Do we want our children to be motivated by fear?
Not to mention the fact that threats don’t work. Of course it happens, I’m not perfect by any means, and all I can think, as I’m making insanely unrealistic threats, is what a total waste of words.
But consequences are real and kids need to know they exist. They also need to know that their behavior may result in real, actual consequences.
Let’s just say that we’ve been having trouble getting our youngest to comply with orders like going to brush teeth, getting dressed, etc. Our mornings are generally positive and run smoothly but not without me having to prompt and prod him more than once to get moving.
I read something the other day about how kids should pretty much know that they have to eat, brush, and get dressed every morning because we’ve been doing the same thing every morning since what feels like the dawn of man.
GET WITH THE PROGRAM KIDS.
I decided it was time to stop the prodding. We’ve had the same morning routine for a zillion years; there are no surprises, no changes.
WE KNOW WHAT TO DO.
At just about 6:55am every morning we are done eating. I decided to say it once. Only once.
“Alright chickens! Bring bowls to the kitchen and head to the back!”
Only one chicken moved.
So I made my coffee, packed up my lunch and work bag then loaded my car. I headed to the back and got dressed. I gathered up my purse, keys, phone, and sunglasses and proceeded to get in the car with only one child in tow.
Suddenly he realized what was happening. He bolted up, ran to the back and got himself ready for school in a whopping 3 minutes 14 seconds. I was already in the car and gave a we-are-about-to-leave-you-honk when I saw him rounding the corner towards the back door.
As I sat in the car, at 7:13am, hands on the wheel ready to pull away, I was well, honestly I was praying that he’d get his non-listening butt out the door so I didn’t actually have to drive away without him.
(My husband and I talked later that morning and he asked me what my ‘plan b’ was if I actually left. The truth is I didn’t have one. Shhh. Tell no one.)
I was also thinking that this is one of those times when being a parent is hard.
But guess what? IT WORKED.
My youngest now knows that his actions have real consequences. He also knows that he has some (relative) control of or say in how things turn out. He can comply, and get to school on time, or not and, well, we’re not completely sure what would happen but he doesn’t have to know that.
Good luck out there, y’all. xoxo