Thursday, May 22, 2014

Acting Like the Bad Guy

It occurred to me a few days ago that it wasn't my new home itself that I was not adjusted to, it was the new parenting style that I was so generously, yet unexpectedly, granted.

Like I didn't see it coming, right?!

I’m reading a book right now, in one of the chapters, the character writes in her journal – she often says – “Let me set the scene” – so here goes!
Immediately upon picking up the Monster from the sitter’s, on the drive home, he expresses his utmost desire to play outdoors with neighbors and friends. As a child who grew up in a small town, my fondest memories are of us playing outdoors – so needless to say, this makes me happy.
We have curfews to contend with – something that I have never had to administer before and a rule that is new to him as well.
Missed curfews will happen, so consequences are looming (must plan accordingly).
I can’t forget to mention that we are still grappling with the use of video games during dinnertime.
(More consequences if this rule is not followed)
Until recently, I have been able to get away with the temporary removal of cherished toys or electronics, until chores were completed thoroughly – they wouldn't be returned – and the occasional go to your room tactic was also popular.
Both were proven effective; however, this is a whole new ballgame.
Every fiber of my being is resisting the need to read parental guidance articles, in the hopes that willpower will unveil and my life will change forever. While I believe in educating yourself in the psychology of children, in whatever age they may be, like anything else – willpower in discipline comes from within, not from a paperback.
Typically, one parent is the bad guy – the other consoles the children when their feelings get hurt. Does that mean that single parents have the best of both worlds? On the contrary – we are dealt a very shitty hand.

As a single parent, I have to be the tough guy and the nurturer; the rule maker and the rule breaker; and the homemaker and the playmate - all within reason.
As mentioned to me recently, his father is the tough parent, I’m the sweet, caring, and nurturing parent that never gives consequences and shouldn't have rules (says him)
This coming from a nine year old that just missed curfew – in an attempt to distract me from considering any kind of punishment.
I saw through it; and as I slowly retracted my eyes from the back of my head, I realized that I have never been a giver of tough love – this style of parenting is foreign to me.
My only concern is who he will become if I drop the act during a moment of weakness.
(Must stay strong)
The ACT of being The Tough Guy , but I can’t tell him that – I would be crucified.
I’ll pretend the tears don’t affect me when he’s missed curfew and has been revoked from playing with friends.
And when he loses privileges…
I’ll show consideration, and offer suggestions, when he says he’s bored with nothing to do – meanwhile, his homework was not done and his room appears as though strong prairie winds have gusted through.

Bored, no - disinterested, likely.

I’ll understand his position but I can’t give in.
If I give in, I will be sent to parenting hell for eternity. He will grow up to be a spoiled rotten little brat, one that doesn't think there are any consequences for negative behavior.

Instead, I will proudly wear my mom jeans (not really), swallow my tears, and reluctantly give him tough love...

No matter how much it kills me.  

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