Say what you mean and mean what you say.
To me that sentence illustrates one of the most important aspects of my parenting philosophy – consistency. It’s hard to stick to your guns and follow through on things. When that weepy face (upset at the prospect of missing the trip to the pro football game because he didn’t meet the clean-your-room-or-lose-the-privilege requirement upon which the trip was predicated) begs me to reconsider, I’m sure I’ll want to give in and let him go, while threatening that he “…better clean it tomorrow, OR ELSE!”
I just don’t think that would serve him, though.
My son is three, so that hasn’t happened yet. Other things have happened, and I use various strategies consistently in my efforts to teach him self-discipline, and that are consequences for every action. He knows if he’s warned and continues the behavior the consequence warned will happen. Despite the tears. Despite my own inconvenience. Despite my son, or others, thinking I’m a mean Mom.
The other day he was misbehaving and I told him that if he continued he would get a timeout. When he continued the behavior I asked him if he wanted a timeout. Instinctively adept at the concept of reverse psychology, he answered me with a resounding “Yes!” So, he got a timeout.
I always think I’m in the minority with my thinking on this. A friend’s son once said to me, smugly, “If I pester her enough I’ll get what I want. I always do.”
Sooooooo not happening in my house.
Imagine my pleasure in reading about the self-proclaimed Meanest Mom on the Planet, who sold her son’s car for breaking a rule upon which having the car was contingent.
Not an easy thing for her to do, I’m sure. But the right thing, most definitely. And a very hard lesson for her son.
But I’ll bet it’s a lesson learned.