Thursday, March 26

Weighing in on the scales of justice

It has been an interesting couple of days around here. I will preempt this story with
an ironic note. This weeks foster/adopt class was all about discipline and punishment.
For three hours we dove deep into ourselves, really thinking about how, we as parents,
discipline and punish - even how OUR parents did it. While my sister, my brother and I
grew up within the epitome of dysfunction, and discipline was somewhat non-traditional by
today's standards, I think the three of us turned out pretty darn good.......
.........without the intervention of professional therapy.......

So when you are face to face with your own thoughts and your own personal
evaluation of yourself and how you parent - wow, I really wasn't prepared for THAT one.
While I won't get into the specifics of how Bill or I choose to discipline, I will say
that I went into this whole parenting thing thinking I was going to totally do the
opposite of what my parents did. And I am pretty sure, as sure as I am sitting here
today, I am following many of the same trends my mother did. Unlike my childhood,
my kids are admittedly spoiled...rotten. And they get away with a lot.
And I have a tendency to not follow through on a lot. Very, VERY unlike my mother, though.
So a mixed bag I guess.

Which brings me current.

So at age 11, my daughter has many privileges. Privileges she has earned.
She works hard in school, swims hard, and is, when looking at the big package,
a pretty decent kid. Cell phone, email account, facebook account, laptop...
she's got it. And with our constant and knowing supervision,
has remained very trustworthy.

So I don't know if it is the age. I would assume so, because I, out of the three of
us kids in my family, was the troublemaker, the oldest, the test-the-waters kind of
kid. So with some prior experience, I know. Herein the lying has begun.
Mind you, not big lies. Little ones. Lots of little ones.

And it is happening more and more often. And what seems to me, it is the first
thing out of her mouth....without hesitation.....without thinking first on what would
be the better choice.......the truth or a lie.

I have been forewarning her too. To please stop. To tell the truth, because,
and this we all have heard, I won't be nearly as upset about the actual offense,
as I will be if you lie about it. I have been threatening to take away privileges.
Which I am sure, through no fault but my own, have fallen on deaf ears.
Hannah and Connor both, have been grounded from things for like a day, before I give in,
or Bill gives in. That "big picture" pops into our heads that, they could be
worse, act worse, do worse.

But the "big picture" didn't matter when I reached a breaking point the other
day, and I absolutely without a doubt or thinking-twice, grounded Hannah.
I took away her cellphone, I took away her laptop, and I changed all
the passwords on her voicemail, her email, and her facebook.
Gone. In less than 60 seconds.

And then I proceeded to take away swimming.
Which heartbreakingly devastated her.

But I did it. I have to nip this in the bud RIGHT NOW.
Before this gets any worse - because I know.
I know how much worse this can get.

And two days into this I am dying. My heart is breaking and it is aching.
She cries at night when she goes to bed, because she is thinking about all of this.
She is trying, at 11, to understand this.
She is trying to hate me.
She is trying to hate herself.
She is trying to cope with being "this" age.
And I am sad.

But I have to do this. And when I say that I am doing all I can do to keep this
real and right and be strong and be the parent that I have to be right now,
this IS one of the lower points of being a mom, being an adult, being a disciplinarian,
being an example.

I look at her beautiful little face, and into her beautiful eyes
and it makes me hurt so much inside. And am hoping that by the
weekends end, I won't have to wipe away her tears anymore
and that she was able to sort through all of how hard it can be to be a kid sometimes,
and how hard I find it to be a parent, sometimes.


LaAna said...

That is so hard I COMPLETELY understand where you're coming from. I find it easy to hand out the punishment, but the follow through with out caving in or loosening up at the end is the hard part. I too must learn to do what I say and say what I mean more often. So I am sending strength for the both of you. You are doing the right thing...

Jerolyn said...

Hannah has a freaking lap top? Holy Frick...I don't even have a lap top.

Sorry not the point...I have a hard time sticking to the punishments too. HOWEVER Kaitlyns only had a cell phone for 6 months so I really didn't have much leverage before...but now I do!

Liz said...

Oh, my heart is breaking for you and Hannah right now - that is so hard - and so important - but so hard...

My mother read me something the other day, so allow me to mess it all up here - but it was somehting along the lines of "you can judge yourself as a person by how you feel. but you can judge yourself as a mother by what your children say about you when they don't know you are listening."
And I think that meant "adult children" - like when it's all said and done.
I will find it.
ANd post it on my blog, of course. :)

Kim said...

Amazing how those words we all heard as kids - "this hurts me more than it hurts you" - really ring true.

It only hurts because you love her so much.

You're doing the right thing, Gin, and though she may not see it in the moment, Hannah will one day see that as well.