Sometimes the most difficult thing about being a parent is having to enforce consequences and discipline. I remember as a kid my parents stating, “This hurts me more than it does you,” and I was thinking, “Yeah right, whatever, I’m the one sitting in my room right now!” But the reality of those very words now rings true being the parent of three daughters.
This past week after getting home from work, I got our girls excited about helping out with household chores with the end game plan of going to Starbucks. Our family loves to go there to have coffee and tea and chat outside under the open sky. It’s always great family time.
Everyone was in on the idea! Chores got done with smiling faces and the house was clean in no time. As we all piled in to the car, one of my daughters had in her hand a pair of sun glasses she had found while helping dad clean out the car. These glasses had been missing for over a year. I honestly had no recollection of who they belonged too. But I found out really quick as one of my other daughters proceeded to grab them out of her hand. My soon to be teenager, mini-adult, announced to the car they were hers, and she had been looking for them for years. Of course these glasses are too small for her now, but apparently she had been looking for them for years–ha!
My husband and I asked her to kindly give them back to her younger sister who was now upset. Finally after a few moments of playing referee, the glasses were returned to the finder. But an unpleasant face remained on the other for the next minute. Next we passed a Dunkin’ Donuts and another argument started, this time about getting donuts instead of coffee. What started off as a fun family outing had quickly turned into chaos.
My husband and I gave our daughter a few chances to change her attitude, but the under the breath comments and arguments continued. All of the sudden my husband did a u-turn. I was now upset and asked, “What are you doing?!?” He said, “Following through on our parenting–we’re taking her home!” My heart sank. All I could think about was wanting to reward all of our girls for working together. But I knew he was right. We want our girls to grow up to know the boundaries of respecting and honoring others, and how to communicate properly. It was so difficult for me to sit there in agreement with my husband as we took our daughter home, dropped her off, and pulled back out of the driveway to go get a treat with the rest of the family.
All it took was for this one moment of my husband and I following through on our parenting values, and the rest of the weekend was amazing with our daughter. She learned really quickly in that evening that mom and dad are in this together. I am sure there will be more challenges we will face as she continues to gain her independence and discovering her own. But for now we get to help teach her the important life lessons. This whole experience was not the most pleasant, but will be so worth it in the end when she grows up to become a beautiful woman of honor, respect, and self-control.
Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Today I want to encourage parents–you have what it takes to instill value and character. Don’t give up when it’s tough, hold the line, and set the boundaries. You won’t regret these moments. Tough though they are, you will reap the joys of mature, healthy children. I know this because I turned out alright! Thanks mom and dad for not giving in, but pulling out the best in me as a child. I would say it was worth it!