Kids need discipline. That’s a no-brainer. They need boundaries, and they need consequences.
The trouble with this though, is when you have to follow up a threat. And, miss out yourself. It’s one of the hardest decisions to make as a parent.
All the parenting experts tell you to make “realistic” threats so you can see them through if needs be. But what they don’t mention is that sometimes the thing taken away from them, punishes Mum as well.
I remember the first time I properly followed through with a threat. Princess was two and BoyChild was one. They were both behaving absolutely rotten and we were going to McDonalds for a playdate. I threatened numerous times that if that did. not. behave. NOW. that I wouldn’t go out. And, they didn’t behave. They were actually both buckled into their carseats in the car and Princess did something that pushed me over the edge (I actually don’t remember exactly what) and I said, “RIGHT. THAT IS IT! We are NOT going!”. And we didn’t.
I remember this day well, because I had to wrangle two screaming kids from the car, back inside, then sit there with my instant coffee, feeling sorry for myself because I had missed out on a coffee out in a public place, with other people. I probably scowled at the kids while they wailed, to be honest. And mumbled to myself, “It’s not FAIR. Why do I have to MISS OUT. NOT FAIR. Hrumph”.
Which brings me to today.
Princess wanted to make cupcakes and I thought that was a fair request. We had to find a recipe that was wheat-free (for me) and dairy-free (for BabyGirl) so we sat down with the iPad and googled recipes. Princess was getting more and more excited, which, combined with her tired state, quickly merged into more and more restless and yell-y.
I gave her fair warning that she needed to calm down or we wouldn’t bake cupcakes.
Recipe found, I went into the kitchen to quite a sight. She had moved the dining room table chair into the pantry room and was wrecking all kinds of havoc “getting ingredients”. I asked her to please put the chair back and tidy up the spilled food before we would bake.
I asked her again.
I calmly said we would not bake until she did what I had asked.
And, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tired Five Year Old: The Breakdown.
“NO! I’m NOT going to do what YOU tell me to do! I am TIRED of LISTENING to you and your DUMB things. I will NOT do what you say. I want to BAKE and that is IT and that is all I’m going to DOOOOOOOOOOO!! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”
Right-o then. I was surprisingly calm with my response, though I’m a little ashamed to admit the term, “hakuna your tatas” might have slipped past my lips.
End game. No more baking tonight.
She cried for, oh, a decent half hour. She pleaded, and apologised, and eventually cleaned up her mess. But it was just too late by then, I was already starting on dinner and there just wasn’t time to bake (plus, I’m no fool – baking with her in such a tender mood really was recipe for disaster).
But, now I don’t get cupcakes tonight. I had really started to drool over those recipes and could practically taste the cupcake. I mean, how great would it have been to settle down to an episode of Orange is the New Black when the kids were in bed, with a delicious, hot cupcake. Oh, me. Sigh.
I was really, really tempted to relent and say, oh stuff it, lets make ’em. But, what would that achieve in the long run? She needs to learn.
I’m not convinced at all. I’m just mourning the cupcakes I won’t get tonight. I could bake them myself, but with following through with threats come following through with promises. And I did assure her we would do it tomorrow. So, I guess I have to wait until then.
Dag nammit. I want a cupcake.