I am not sure how many parents still do this, but I remember a comedy bit by Bill Cosby where he told the story of his mother wishing on him, all the things he had done to frustrate his mother as a parent. You know, “wait until you have kids…”
And I am waiting for that moment. Which is not to be confused with being anxious for it. Both of my daughters are already fairly skilled at the “defending against Daddy” approach. Both girls have a quick wit which they use automatically to disarm me or reduce the amount of scolding they get. Of course, neither daughter believes of any dire consequences for their actions because Wendy and I have always believed in talking with the kids. Sure, they have gotten tme out, or lost a favorite toy, but neither has ever given us any reason to consider any other extreme level of punishment.
Both Wendy and I experienced different levels of punishment. I will throw her “under the bus” as I clearly did not get into the degree of trouble that she got into. She loves to tell the stories of how she got punished for what her mother “didn’t see you do later.”
Madison is quite good with the loss of “currency” as a form of punishment. The trick is to hold out, but versus Madison, that is a monumental task because she has endless will. “Go ahead, take everything from me, even my mattress.” Fortunately this battle of wills does not come up often.
We are entering an age now with Madison for sure, where we will undoubtedly have to consider “grounding.” I have a feeling that this will be effective as her friends mean the world to her. She is a social butterfly. I foresee only one possible issue coming up, and that was made obvious Saturday evening.
It was a rare Saturday night, that all of us were going in separate directions. I had school board campaign things to get done. Wendy had a “girl’s night” event to get to. And then there was a family function that Wendy took the girls too, but as the girls do not get to see their cousins all that often, she felt it would be okay to ask my mother-in-law to bring them home, which was no problem.
As the night progressed, I finished up around 7:00pm, came home to an empty house. Okay, I figure everything was fine. Wendy got home around 9:15pm, empty handed. She asked me, “they’re not home yet?” to which I responded, “you didn’t pick them up?” We figured they were having a real good time, and their grandparents were clearly enjoying their conversations. But then 10:00 came, 11:00 came. It was 11:30 when the door opened and here they came jabbering away about all the fun that they had.
I went outside to thank Wendy’s parents for keeping them as we knew they would have much more fun at the party with their cousins than having us make them go to bed on a weekend by 9:00pm. I wonder if I have blown the opportunity to set a curfew before this as I am certain at some point the conversation will come up, “but Dad, there was the time that we were out with MomMom and PopPop past 11:30pm…”