I think I have reached a parenting crossroad. I've lost my effectiveness, probably because I've also lost my cool one too many times. I've noticed that yelling and screaming rarely elicits obedience. But yelling and screaming is my first reaction when they are being deliberately disobedient. I have to tell myself over and over again to remain calm, that screaming at them won't get me anywhere, that spanking them is even less effective, but I just can't seem to listen to myself. Often, I let my emotions get the better of me and take control.
I need to be more effective. I need to let my children reap the consequences of what they sow. I think that part is hard for me. If they do not clean up the room like I asked and I've given them a time limit and the consequence is getting something taken away, I need to take it away. It's far too easy, for the reason of avoiding tears and further conflict, to just give them five more minutes. But I need to be firm.
When my kids get home from school, they are supposed to empty their backpacks, so I can see any important paperwork, they can put away or throw away returned work, and they can clean out their lunchboxes so I have them ready for the next morning. Yesterday I spent about twenty minutes yelling at them to do it. They still didn't. I finally realized that I need to let them sink or swim. If they don't do the required task, they will reap the natural consequences. If their lunchbox wasn't cleaned out the day before and they don't put their ice pack in the freezer, then they will have no ice pack and I will send them to school with trash in their lunch. If they don't give me the papers they need signed or get their homework done, they will reap the consequences. You want your child to be successful. The thought that not turning in homework, something that you could make sure they get done, could affect their grade substantially, is quite painful. It's hard to let go.
So today I make a commitment. I commit to stop the yelling and screaming. I commit to tell them once, perhaps give them one last warning, and then let them take the consequence. Sometimes I will have no control over the consequence and that is what scares me, but I need to let go and let them learn in their own way.
Sometimes, it's tough to be a parent.