Thursday, December 11, 2008

What about consequences?

I was in the bank yesterday when I heard a conversation between a woman and the teller next to me.

"It's amazing what we'll do for our kids," the woman said. "My daughter was flying to California today and she was slow getting ready. I told her to hurry, but she didn't listen. She said she only needed to be at the airport 15 minutes ahead of time, even though I told her she needed to get there an hour ahead. It turns out they barely let her on the plane, but her bags didn't make it. I had to ship them two-day and it cost almost $200."

I couldn't believe the story this woman was telling. She actually shipped her teenager daughter's bags down to her after the daughter's poor choices led her to miss getting them on the plane. What about consequences?

Essentially, that mother suffered her daughter's consequences. Is it possible we try to help our kids too much? Is it possible that many of the reasons our kids continue to mess up is that we continue to bail them out.

I remember one day when my kids were toddlers. I was sitting outside our apartment complex and I saw another mom stride over to the dumpster and dump in a brand new pair of roller skates. I looked at the woman questioningly.

"I told my daughter for two days to put them away or I was going to throw them away," the mother said. "I have to follow through."

Wow. At first I thought the consequences were a bit harsh, but I soon realized that a parent has to follow what he or she says. Do you think our kids will learn anything if we tell them, "I'm going to ground you." or "I'm going to put you in time out" and then we continually let their actions slide? The thing is that when we don't deal with the lying, stealing, and cheating when our kids are 2, 3, and 4 ... then we're going to be dealing with them in bigger ways when they're 12, 13, and 14!

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So, in the end, what's a parent to do? My advice is that we give kids consequences for their disobedience and then follow through. We are the parents. It is our job to teach them, to train them. It is our job to give them a moral foundation and show the reasons why it's important to follow God's directives.

If we don't today, what will our children's tomorrows look like?


At Sunday, 14 December, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG you have to follow through! You just have to...

At Tuesday, 16 December, 2008, Blogger Michelle said...

I see so many parents threaten but never follow through. And then they wonder why their kids never listen to them.
But just a word of caution. We also have to remember to be careful/wise abou what we threaten. You can't really ground them til they're 20! it really possible for the whole family to leave the amusement park that you just go to because of a toddler misbehaving?...and do you really want to throw away the $250 video game you just paid for? Just use wisdom and realistic consequences so that you can be sure to actually follow through.


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