Parenting-The Reward

The day did improve after lunch. They finished their school work and played with friends and rested at the right times. Before quiet time I uttered my standard, "I will tell your friends they can't come if you haven't had a good rest." They scurried to their beds and lay as still as 4 and 6 are able.

At bed time we talked about the day. I asked them to forgive me for the moments when I had been wrong, and told them I was still sad about them. We talked about the kids who always go to school hungry and how hard it must be for them to learn. I took extra time hugging and cuddling and repairing the ties between us.

I was sitting in the living room nursing the Baby as the girl yelled for me to come over and over until finally I could go. She was trying to tell me the Boy had been out of bed a lot since I left the room, a bed time no-no in our house. Tired, lazy, not sure about the tattle tale aspect of it all, and just wanting everyone to get to sleep, I mildly said to the Boy, "Don't get out of bed again."

As I listened to the Girl squeezing in just one more thing to tell me before I left the room again, I heard the Boy start to mutter something in my other ear.

"What was that Boy?"

"I said that if I were you and I had a Boy who disobeyed and got out of bed I wouldn't just tell him not to again."

"You think I should discipline you then? You think you chose it?"

He hung his head down and very quietly mumbled, "Yes."

My 6 year old offering me parenting advice. My wise wise son who listens to the strong voice of conscience.

What would you do?

I administered the standard consequence around here for disobedience. And he seemed almost relieved. As I was sending him back to bed he turned around and said, "You need to think of something different now mommy, because that isn't strong enough anymore to make me want to obey."

This morning they ate breakfast very early, before doing anything else. The Girl was quite frantic for the minute that she waited her turn to pour the milk lest she run out of time to eat. And we all had a mostly pleasant day.

Now if only I could learn from my mistakes as quickly as my children do.


  1. Anonymous5:27 AM

    I have so enjoyed this post and the previous "The hard part" post. You're a wonderful mother.

    I'm curious... What are you going to do now as a consequence for the Boy? Wow. That's all I can say. :)

  2. Tamra-Oh I have no idea. I'm hoping his dad will have some ideas when he gets home.

  3. Anonymous6:38 PM

    For a child with a conscience as strong as that, I'm wondering if the best response isn't to say that it isn't up to you to make him want to behave. Since it's clear he knows right from wrong and wants to do right, he can also make himself want to behave.

    It's a thought. Though there are always consequences for certain behaviours (library fines, speeding tickets, jail terms), for an adult the primary and best monitor of behaviour is your own conscience and self-discipline.

    Maybe this canny young man is old enough to start taking more ownership of his own choices. There aren't many six-year-olds I'd say that of, but he sounds pretty exceptional!

  4. Anonymous12:14 AM

    You have a very smart kid...very mature as well.


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