Dianne kept telling herself, “I can’t believe we just did it again! How come that kid always outsmarts us?!”
She and Derrick thought they had come up with the perfect consequence for their daughter’s new endeavors to test the curfew limits they had put in place. After all, it wasn’t like they were over-the-top strict. She had talked to several other parents with kids similar in age to Kari. The curfew in their home fell right in line with what others seemed to be doing with their kids. “Kari just seems to be one of those kids who think that the rules don’t apply to her,” Dianne lamented.
“If you come in late, then you’ll lose your ability to drive to school the next day,” Dianne and her husband had both agreed. “Second curfew miss, two days. If you hit number three, you’ll lose the car for a week.”
It really seemed like a fair way to solve the problem. Both Dianne and Derrick had felt confident that it should work, especially since Kari liked her new found independence with her driver’s license and she hated riding the school bus.
The first time Kari missed curfew after the new rules were in place, Dianne had an appointment that took her past the school. “Mom, you are going right past the school, can you just drop me off?”
Kari had asked politely, so Dianne decided to give her a break from the bus. “After all, I am going right past the school,” she rationalized. “I’d rather do that than have to wait to make sure she gets on the bus.”
The second time Kari missed curfew, she road the bus the first day. But day number two went south. Kari wasted her time that morning and didn’t make the bus. “Mom, I have a chemistry test today! If I miss, Mr. Robinson will make me take the more difficult test tomorrow! I can’t bomb this test or I’ll get a “C” in chemistry this semester! You don’t want me to do that do you?”
And with the last plea, Dianne was fishing in the hall closet to get a jacket and find her keys. She gathered up her 4 year old to put him in the car seat.
As Kari pushed the curfew limit for the third time, the same game played out. Kari missed the bus yet again and, as fate would have it, the 4 year old was running a fever and Dianne had spent most of the night rocking her son. She wasn’t even dressed to take Kari to school. “Mom, I have to be there! Our group is presenting our project in English. I have all the props!”
Exhaustion took over and Dianne’s defenses were down. “Go ahead and take the car, we’ll decide how to handle it later,” she wearily responded.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
Too many times as parents, we don’t think about how the consequences might impact us or how we are teaching our children to manipulate circumstances to go their way. We end up putting ourselves in the dog house because tweens and teens have this uncanny way of pulling on our heartstrings. We want their success and we’ll do anything to help them achieve it.
Dare you to respect both you and your child enough to follow through on consequences the way they were intended. They will learn limits and you’ll stay out of the dog house.:)
“Let go…and let God,”
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