Monday, August 21, 2006

The Hammer Fell

It happened.

Last week I had to implement the ultimate consequence after OC lied again. I picked her up and sat her on the counter next to the fridge where the chart we had made was hung. She watched as I took a pencil and crossed off each row of time at the park she had earned. 20 minutes at the park was now gone. Her eyes were big and round, turning red and then welling with tears as the reality sunk in. She was very serious as she listened to me explain in a gentle voice about how I was disappointed in her behavior. All that hard work, lost.

It was awful for both of us. Through it all I could see that this was an important moment and so I perservered. She could tell I was serious, that lying really would not be tolerated. The goal is to follow through with something important that will make an impression on her without getting angry and emotional. I was calm and cool on the outside while my insides churned. I followed through with exactly what I said I would.

The way it ended was positive, with emphasis on having a new opportunity to earn more time. I felt a strong mix of emotions afterward: happiness that I had done my job as a parent, but heartbroken to see her hard work wiped out. It was hard to watch.

She had to experience this. Many of life's most important lessons cannot be learned by listening, they must be learned through experience. I feel like I gave her something very important, hard as it was to do, and that it was worth it.

3 comments:

M J said...

Congratulations! I think good things will come of this...

Melissa said...

I know from experience how hard that is. Congratulations on your strength and convictions - I totally agree about having to learn some things through experience.

It's hard for me to be strict when my husband's deployed and I know they're aching to see their dad - but I keep telling myself that they need the limits and the routine for their own good.

Melissa said...

oh, I forgot! Your girls night looks like SO much fun! My best friend lives six hours away - I would love to do something like that.

Of course Marnie is having a housewarming party - if only she didn't live in another country! :) I have to bring virtual alcohol.