Thursday, January 3, 2008
A Tumbling Buzzard
I like the idea of reality discipline. The idea that kids need to be able to experience some of the natural consequences of their choices, weather they be good or bad.
In the past (among other things) we have not replaced a stolen bike after that particular child had been reminded over and over to put it away, and we have not allowed children to go to parties/activities when chores have not been done.
Conversely, we rejoice when our children are allowed special privileges because of their good behavior, or wholeheartedly agreed when people complement us on the good behavior of our kids.
I really, really believe that learning how to handle natural consequences is an important part of growing up.
But sometimes, for a mom, it is hard to watch.
To say B has been unmotivated about his algebra would be a bit of an understatement. He’d rather do just about anything else.
Over the holidays (4 weeks from his tutor) he has had 9 lessons and a test to do at home. D and I decided we would not nag him to do it. I have spent MUCH time over the last semester micromanaging him and his algebra. I have given him systems; I have given him calendars, spreadsheets, graphs and powerpoint presentations (okay, maybe not that last one). And still it is like pulling teeth. I feel like I am the one taking the class.
After much discussion and prayer, D and I sat B down at the beginning of his holiday and told him we would NOT nag and or remind him about his algebra requirements. We would be happy to help him whenever he may ask, but we will not spend our holiday worried over his algebra. We also explained that if he is not done with EVERY LAST PROBLEM by the time he sees his tutor on Monday, January 7th at 1pm, he will be paying the $40 tutor fee. And as usual, if he fails the test he will be grounded (including the loss of his new car which he is now able to drive on his own) until he gets a passing test score, whenever that may be.
I must admit to gently reminding him a few times over the holidays, but for the most part I’ve left it alone.
B has 8 lessons and one test left to do before Monday. He plans to go play soccer on Sat afternoon, he has a mowing/raking job on Sat morning, and he will be required to go to Church on Sunday. It’s not looking good for him.
I really think this is one of those times that I, as the mom, am going to have to get out of the way and let him experience the inevitable failure coming, due to his own bad choices. It’s going to hurt. It’s kinda like watching a train wreck. It’s coming and there is nothing I can do about it.
Being a Mom is really hard sometimes.
Here is a little excerpt from one of Dr Leman’s books. (he is my favorite parenting “expert”)
“In order for reality discipline to work the first thing that must happen is the child must feel loved,” said Dr. Leman. “Reality discipline uses guidance and action-oriented techniques. Action-oriented discipline is based on the reality that there are times when you have to pull the rug out and let the little buzzards tumble.”
I know that B is loved. I hope he feels it because the little buzzard is about to take a tumble.