I have always thought of myself as the stricter parent. As many parents may have stated themselves, “I have plenty of time to be your friend, right now, I have to teach you life, responsibility, decisions and consequences, etc. I have not been robotic about it, and my daughters over their lifetimes have experienced way more fun times and memories than when they have seen me strict.
But there are times, when, even unintentional, my “strictness” would appear without even an effort on my part. Years ago, I believe my oldest daughter was around 3 years of age. I had seen her sitting on the lower steps of our stairwell inside the house. When I asked her why she was sitting there, silently, hands folded and bored, she responded, “I’m in timeout.”
Had I had a liquid in my mouth, it would have come spewing out at that moment. Though I asked her why she was in timeout, I cannot recall what her reason was, because it was when I asked how long her mother had put her in timeout, she responded, “I put myself in timeout.”
I want to state, I am not a big believer in timeouts, and even less on spankings and such. But clearly, the few times that timeouts had been implemented, had made an impact. And then I told her to take herself out of timeout, that only parents get to put their children in timeout. And I gave her a hug for being just so cute.
Over the years, I took a lot of great care and attention, to make sure that my daughters knew actions, consequences, and impact as they grew older. Lessons in life for the most part, have turned to their education. After all, if you are reading this, chances are you were impacted not by what you learned, but how. On average, grades for my daughters are generally good. I know they are good students. They are not perfect, and when they come home with a grade, lower than they are accustomed to, they know what will follow.
“Did you not understand what you were being asked?”
“Did you try your best?”
“Did you study enough?” And so on.
Usually, these are short conversations. And has occasionally happened, some of the lower grades ended up being dealt with through the teachers due to ambiguity. And then there is this conversation with my teenager:
“I don’t think I did not do well on my science test.”
“I didn’t study enough.” Now, I want to clarify this. She did study, just what she thought would be on the test, not the entire chapter. The entire chapter ended up being on the test. “I know differently now, I need to study harder, and everything.”
My daughters keep doing it to me. They make the mistake, and recognize and correct it on their own. I could not be any more proud of them.