I try really hard not to make empty threats to my kids.
If they know I’ll never follow through on something, why should they listen to me?
Even when they are doing something that is really irritating, something they know is against our house rules, I take deep breaths and think about it before I say anything.
Because if I say, “If you do that one more time….” or “This is your last warning….,” I really better be ready to actually do whatever it is I’m telling them will happen.
Or if I come up with consequence X should behavior Y ever occur, that needs to be something I can live with, too.
If they’re out somewhere, the punishment is that we have to go home. Or if we had a fun outing planned, that the outing won’t happen.
But inn our house, the punishment that tends to make them sit up and pay attention is losing devices: tablets, laptops, xbox, and television. The only exception being if they needed one of those for a school assignment and then they could use it, but only under adult supervision.
Even with them being in school for a good portion of the day, and being involved in numerous activities, they still find some time to play on their devices and the idea of not being allowed on them at all sounds like torture to them.
The threat of this usually works.
But occasionally, it doesn’t and then I can feel like I’m the one being punished.
It’s fine if the weather is cooperating and we have a lot of sports and other activities going on, they barely notice(even if they still aren’t happy about it). But add in a few days like the past week we’ve had with all the rain, when activities were canceled and I couldn’t possibly send them outside, and it’s enough to make me want to give in and hand the devices over because I need to get some of my own work done.
I don’t give in, but ohmygosh do I wish I could.
I think I was more relieved than one of my kids this past weekend when he did what he needed to do in order to earn back his device privileges since we’d be inside all weekend due to all the rain.
I’ve yet to really find an effective punishment for my kids that doesn’t also feel like a punishment for the parents, too. Yet, I’m not okay with giving them no consequences when the situation calls for them. Yet another example of why this parenting thing is not easy.