When dealing with bad behaviour, has anyone in the history of parenting followed through with threats such as ‘you won’t go on that play-date’, ‘you won’t have a story at bedtime’, or ‘you’ll only be able to watch 23-hours of Netflix tomorrow’?
According to my Instagram, my kids spend their time enjoying multiple days out, always (ok, nearly always) smiling, and generally displaying the epitome of good behaviour. But, like most Insta-feeds, behind those filtered cyber squares, and as with a lot of children their age, especially given their age gap (5 and 2-years-old), there can be some, how shall I put it… challenges. There’s the sibling squabbles, the answering back, the dropkicks to my Midlands and the general whining (I blame you Bing). So a lot of the time, I fall into that lazy mode of parenting, and start dishing out some apparent world-ending threats. I know, I know, the parenting police will be on my back, hands-up, I’m shit ok, I get it. But when said threats are a simple way to create a moment of relative calm, it can be a quick and easy win.
But what about when the reward that’s been removed actually comes round? The art club which generates even more cardboard bound for the recycling bin or the prospect of Santa not visiting this year (side note; love how we all have Santa and the headteacher on speed dial). Well, the meltdown that created the original threat is nothing in comparison with what ensues when my children face the very real prospect of missing out, so generally for the sake of a quieter life, they don’t ever seem to miss out on said treats or events, which in turn means they got away with the original misbehaviour.
Reading this back I sound like a parenting wuss and they clearly have me wrapped around their boney little fingers. Am I alone here? Are you as weak as me? Do you have any tips?
Anyway, I’d better get back to planning the kids’ next adventure, which I’ll obviously threaten to cancel but end up taking them on anyway… god damn it. Someone get me the Easter Bunny’s number…