Family / Parenting

The Consequences of Consequences

trexAs parents, we dole out consequences regularly for our kids’ misdeeds. Consequences are parents’ way of saying, “OH MY GOD! You did a thing I hate and you must suffer so that you never ever in a million years consider doing that thing again!” There are lessons to be learned! Morals to be imparted! Bail to be avoided!

But have you ever brought down the hammer of parental justice and walked away with a smug little smile only to think “Oh no!”a moment later?

In our household, these are the Top 3 Consequences for Doing Things We Hate:

1. Loss of media time

Kid A bonks Kid B on the head after a heated disagreement over the number of squares there should be in the foundation of a Minecraft house. Kid B insults Kid A’s building skills. When they cannot resolve their conflict peacefully, The Parent takes away all media time from the kids. Goodbye laptop! Goodbye iTouch! Goodbye Netflix! Goodbye phone! Goodbye anything but books and dolls made out of corn husks! Kids then wander aimlessly through the house, bumping into walls and bemoaning their lack of media time and The Parent can’t get anything done.

2. Loss of planned outing
Kid A won’t brush teeth and put on pants and, instead, spends 37 minutes raging against the machine wherein “the machine” is a world that requires pants and frowns on fuzzy teeth. When The Parent insists on civility in addition to the aforementioned hygiene and daily living tasks, Kid A slams the bedroom door. Repeatedly. Possibly so hard that the vibration shakes the fuzz off of a tooth or two. The Parent then says, “That’s it! You will not go on the hayride at the Gay Rodeo Circus Festival of Dancing Stars!” Kid A yells, “FINE!” and The Parent yells, “FINE!” and everyone retreats to their corners. That night, Kid A and The Parent stare at each other sullenly while the Gay Rodeo Circus Festival of Dancing Stars goes on without them.

3. Forcing them to clean up their own mess

Let’s say The Parent is in the shower and Kid A finds a water gun and shoots Kid B repeatedly with it while laughing maniacally. Kid B retaliates by filling a giant glass with water and chasing Kid A around the living room and then throws the glass of water at Kid A with aim that suggests that you do not want him/her shooting an apple off anyone’s head. Perhaps, Kid B then runs to the kitchen and grabs food coloring and squirts it all over Kid A who then grabs it and they struggle and there blue food coloring ends up on every surface in the kitchen and on every part of both kids. The Parent emerges from the shower, finds the mess and says, “Clean up this mess right now and I want it to be clean clean!” The Parent leaves the kids to their work and returns to find multiple wet towels in piles around the kitchen and the blue food coloring is diluted but smeared everywhere. Blue towels. Blue kids. Blue everything.

As you can see from these carefully constructed scenarios, the Top 3 Consequences for Doing Things We Hate are also the Top 3 Most Painful Consequences for Parents. So, next time you are rolling up your disciplinary sleeves, remember who really suffers – you!

PHOTO CREDIT: VIKKI REICH

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5 Comments

  1. Blue food coloring fights???

  2. So true. Discipline is one exhausting strategy session.

  3. I think I need to make sure my food coloring is under lock and key before they’re old enough to think of that…

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