My sister-in-law has “Parenting is HARD, Yo!” as a category on her blog, and lately I think I’ve been thinking about that one liner all the time.
Now, I only have two kids, both boys, they are not super close in age (4 1/2 year gap), they aren’t teenagers, and they don’t go to school, so I know that some of you are thinking, “Wait a second….what the HECK are you whining about?”
Well, I’ll tell ya.
I’ve learned (and I’ll say it over and over and over and over again) that every phase, whether good or bad, comes to an end.
Sometimes this gives me hope. Example: Oli got over his “why” stage recently, which was very very nice.
Sometimes it makes me sad. Example: Oli also outgrew liking kisses. He is back to wiping them off and claiming, “dat’s gwoss” after each little smooch. He is also kicking everything that doesn’t do what he likes/says. Even the dishwasher.
But Mr. B is in a phase right now, and it has just about drivin me to tears! And baldness, because I want to RIP my hair out sometimes.
That phase is…
Yep. Here he is, all of 7 years old, turning 8 in October, getting prepared to be baptized, and he decides that he is going to start pushing those buttons.
I don’t have a problem with giving him choices, and I don’t have a problem with offering him those choices, I am just frustrated with him making the WRONG choice.
I understand this is totally normal, and I am trying to embrace this new phase of independence. But sometimes, I can look at my son and SEE the wheels turning and see the idea form in his mind, and I KNOW he is going to push whatever boundary happens to be set in front of him. Normally, I don’t have any issues enforcing the consequences of breaking or pushing whichever rule he chose to challenge, but this week was a HARD one for me.
We had our family meeting 2 weeks ago and discussed some family rules that we would all obey, and one of them was about lying. If anyone was caught lying, they would be grounded from everything for one week. Considering we live in a remote area and are a happy home-school family, this is a BIG deal. We have to go out of our way to ensure that we have a good blend of school time vs friend/socialization time. But when we said grounded from everything, we meant everything. Even Awana.
And then…Mr. B lied.
And not even about something BAD.
He lied about
“I promise I washed them.” he claimed.
I looked and then I sniffed, and there was FOR SURE some gross-nasty-dirty-boy-germs growing on those out-stretched hands of his.
He looked me in the eyes and then averted his gaze. We both knew he was lying. I looked at him and simply told him he had broken one of our family rules and that he was grounded.
His eyes got wide and he said, “Ok, that’s fine. But I get to go to Awana, right? We have to finish the second part of the story.”
“Nope. Sorry buddy. Grounded from everything. For one week. I’m so sorry you lied to me, it makes me pretty sad.” I replied.
“What? That’s. NOT. Fair! It’s inside-out night tonight!!!” he claimed.
“I know, we were pretty excited about that. We’ll just have to wear our clothes inside out next week.” I said.
He stormed off (funny enough, he went and washed his hands) and went to his room for about 40 minutes.
When he came out, he had tears in his eyes and said, “Momma, I’ll stay in time-out for 7 hours if you let me go to Awana tonight and hear the second part of the story and see my friends. It’s the story of the miracle of the sheep’s wool NOT getting wet and then getting wet (Gideon’s story from Judges)”
I turned around and gave him a hug and said that that wasn’t the consequence for lying.
He leaned back out of my hug and looked me in the eyes.
“Well, I’ll stay in time-out on The Bench of SHAME (his name for the time-out bench in the living room) for 7 or even EIGHT hours if you let me go. Or I can pick up dog poop (and he shuddered).”
I just shook my head.
He was silent for a minute. Then, “Howabout you ground me from everything for a MONTH except Awana? That’s more fair. Or if you go rent Tron on Blue Ray and don’t let me watch it? I would HATE that.”
There were more tears in his eyes and his voice cracked on the last word.
“Those are great suggestions, and if you choose to break another rule, I might use one of those, but you chose to lie, and the consequence for lying is being grounded for a week. I hope you understand that.” I said softly.
Rolling his eyes, he stepped back and said in a mocking voice, “Oh, yeaaaah…I understand it. Blah, blah, blah. But I DON’T like it!!” and he stormed back to his room.
The afternoon was quiet and passed quickly with Mr. B playing with building sets at the table, but every 30 minutes or so that great big tough 7-year-old boy would look up at the clock, get a little teary-eyed and he would sigh.
Bedtime came quickly, and after prayers & putting Oli in his crib, I tucked Mr. B in. As I did, he wrapped his arms around my neck and whispered, “I’m sorry I lied, Momma.”
“I know you are, sweet boy.” I replied, hugging him back.
Walking out of the room and wiping a tear from my eye, I said goodnight and shut the door.
Cat I said, Parenting is HARD, yo!