Friday, December 3, 2010

Actions Have Consequences...

but for whom?

This is going to be somewhat of a rant so if you aren't interested, I won't be offended if you move along.  OR you could stay and sympathize/empathize with me because sure as shootin', it'll be one or more of your kids are doing this too.  How do I know your kids do it too?  Because my kids got the idea from SOMEONE and it wasn't me, so it must have been your kids. 

It is winter (although not technically) in Minnesota.  Winter=cold.  Just in case that wasn't crystal clear. Oh, it hasn't gotten to that "I'm cold to my bones" cold yet, but it's coming...I can just feel it.
And yet, this is the conversation I had with my middle daughter (age 12) earlier this week:

Me: We got a dusting of snow so make sure you wear your boots. (you can already see where this is headed right?)
Her:  I'm going to wear my ballet flats.
Me: You can't wear your ballet flats.  You can TAKE them.  Wear your sneakers and change when you get to school.
Her: NO ONE stands by their locker and changes shoes at school.  I'll be ok with my ballet flats.
Me: No, you won't.  Just walking to the bus will put snow in your shoes and you will start out the school day with cold wet feet.
Her:  I'll be OK.
Me: NO. This is NOT negotiable.  Put on shoes.
Her: *stomp off*, *slam door*, *move in slow motion raising fear that she will miss her bus and I will have to take her*

Sadly, this is not the "exception" conversation, but rather the "rule".  Replace boots with coat or hat and gloves and we can spin this one out every day and twice on Sunday.  And in answer to your question, NO, I don't let her (them) do what she (they) wants to do for several reasons (not necessarily in order of importance): 
  1. I am the parent.  I don't make stupid rules that I can't enforce simply to thwart their little psyches.  I have rules in place for their safety.  Winter in Minnesota means EXTREME cold.  Cold that can cause you to lose fingers or toes (as has been experienced by my husband's uncle).  I can do without the consequences of amputation thankyouverymuch.
  2. When I see other kids trudging off to school in flip flops and shorts, IN SNOW, my first thought is, DO THEY NOT HAVE PARENTS WHO KNOW THE WORD NO?  Yup, that's me judging others using my yard stick.  If I don't want to be a hypocrite, I need to walk my own walk and follow my own standards by which I judge others. (Yes, I judge others...sue me)
  3. Our jobs as parents is to guide our children.  Help them make the right decisions.  But it is also to get them to understand that sometimes in life we don't get to make and follow our own rules.  Adulthood is RIDDLED with rules someone else set up for us to follow.  Some of those are good sound rules.  Do we just throw them out because we had no part in making them?  Or do we follow them because they make good sense?  In some respects we have to accept that these rules are in place for a reason and follow.  Best learn it early in life because your boss, he's not going to take kindly to you questioning each and every rule he has because you weren't there to help in the process.
Contrary to my children's opinion of me, I'm not stupid.  I GET some of the reasons for their balking at winter attire.  Boots and thick heavy jackets take up space in lockers where space is already tight.  I GET that.  And while I'm not completely happy with them NOT wearing winter boots in 6 inches of freshly fallen snow, I will compromise with shoes that cover their whole foot (read...sneakers, Ugg style boots, etc).  The jackets...well, that's a different situation.  My insistence that they be appropriately attired for the temp comes from a fear that, even in a car, should it break down, they need to have that added warmth.  Do I expect a breakdown?  NO.  But when does the expected ever happen?  It's the unexpected that bites you in the fanny.

And finally, actions having consequences...children rarely have to deal with the consequences of their actions.  If my son wears his slippers to school (yes, we have had THAT talk as well) and somehow gets them wet/lost/etc, then *I* get the phone call saying, come bring me shoes. Bringing him the shoes teaches him that he is not responsible for his actions, someone (mom) will bail him out Not bringing him his shoes MIGHT teach him a lesson, unless his immune system (for which I am ALSO responsible) is low and he ends up catching a chill, getting sick and being home (yeah, yeah...I know GERMS cause illness, but a depleted immune system does nothing to prevent it either).   Then again, there is me, being judged as a cold-hearted b!tch for having made my child suffer so. *insert eye roll*  Again, who REALLY suffers the consequences?

And why should there be consequences when a simple "because I said so" should be all that is needed. 

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