Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paper Parents Pop Quiz #8 (PPPQ8)

Last night you were working in the basement when you heard Avery getting loud with your wife, Laura. You knew Avery was a bit tired and cranky and wanted a treat or whatever....the details weren't clear. What was clear was that she was speaking to Laura in a way that wasn't acceptable. You were boiling. So you sat for a minute and weighed the pros and cons of getting in Avery's face and making sure she understood good and proper that she was not to speak to her mother like that again...ever.

Pros...she needed to know in no uncertain terms that raising her voice in defiance was NOT going to happen regularly...at least not that loud.

Cons...interject and you risk coming across like the "heavy" and usurping Laura's authority and ability to deal with situations like that as she sees fit.

An interesting dilemma. It took about 40 seconds to come up with the action plan....did you...

A) Let Laura handle the situation...to rush upstairs would be to give Avery the impression her mother couldn't be strong and that was the overriding consideration...

B) Stay in the basement and have a talk with Laura later about how you thought she should have been a little tougher on Avery...

C) Get your ass upstairs and get in your daughter's grill. "Usurping authority" or no, Avery will not address her mother in that tone and that's really all that matters. Time for you to take control...

D) Run upstairs screaming at the top of your lungs and frothing at the mouth -- something akin to a rabid rhino on speed. Get in your daughter's face. Make her cry. Terrorize her. This way you'll ensure she'll never raise her voice to her mother again. Hell if you play it right she may never again address her mother above a whisper for the rest of her years...

And the answer is? Boy D was tempting but I went with C on this. It was an easy decision actually...yes Laura can handle herself. But when you heard Avery upstairs your mind immediately flashed back to one day in Lake Placid five years ago. To one of the hundred stores that cater to tourists on Main Street. A four or five year old kid was being the biggest brat and addressing his mother in a way that should never be. And she just let it happen. Of course Avery wasn't at that age or stage but it's up to you as a parent to make sure she will NEVER get there.

So you went upstairs and got in her grill. Told her she will NEVER talk to her mom like that again.

You knew she'd cry. She did.

You knew she would run to her mom for a hug. She did.

She'll also know better next time and hopefully in the deep recesses of her mind there will be a voice telling her how far she can and cannot go. This is is essence of parenting...and it is why the decisions you make in these situations lays the foundation for tomorrow and the rest of their lives. And that is why the easy thing with your children is often the wrong thing...at least in this parent's mind...

Not to mention you know that Avery is strong. She may have been in tears for five minutes but you knew ten minutes after that the two of you would be playing ball again. And you were. The house didn't collapse. She didn't curl up into fetal position. She simply got a lesson at high volume for about a minute...and I believe the effects will last a lot longer...

1 comment:

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