Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Consequences For Older Kids

The last couple of days I've been up to my eyeballs in this project I've been working on.

I'm happy to report it is D-O-N-E and off to my friend for finalization and return to the client.

So, while I was working my stubby little girl fingers (I'm not kidding, I have weirdly small hands and feet for a grown-up) to the bone, I expected my older kids to help pick up the slack around the house.

Go on, have a good laugh. You should.

At the very least, I thought maybe things wouldn't get done, but certainly they wouldn't get worse.

Go on, laugh some more. You should.

I went into my sons' room this morning to find that our dog had been allowed in there (keep in mind she's ten months old) and my 8 year old sons night pads hadn't been put away. Nor had his binder from school. So much chewing happened. So. Much.

Someone didn't do their job last night, of putting things away, and things were wrecked.

You know they noticed. An actual person over the age of 10 looked at the damage and decided not to tell me, or even try to clean up. I was not happy.

Then I went into the bathroom, and each of the kids bedrooms. I found so much that hadn't been done, or hadn't been done right. I was so much more not happy.

Liam was almost late for the bus, it took me so long to put things right so that I could get things done that had to be done.

When the kids came home today, they found they'd lost all of their electronics privileges. Computer, game systems, phones. Done.

But here's the thing. Older kids can be involved in this whole process of creating and implementing consequences. It's more complicated than the easy time-outs and things when they're little. But it's so good for communication, growth, and learning. (Doesn't that sound important?)

We talked about what was being taken away and why. We also talked about personal responsibility, and how to earn privileges back.

My oldest son, who has Asperger's, reminded me that his phone and the computer are his two main forms of anxiety relief, and he wasn't expecting them to be taken away, so it was really setting him off. His explanation was reasonable, and I'm respectful of his feelings. He hasn't gotten anything back, yet, but I told him if there are other consequences he thinks would send the same message, but without the anxiety, I'm open to hearing and implementing them.

Sometimes older kids can even come up with their own consequences, which can be so much worse than you would have given them. But it shows real understanding of how their actions have affected others.

One of the most important things I can teach my kids, is that actions have consequences, both positive and negative. But I also want to show them that they have power over their own lives and what happens. And if something isn't going the way they wanted, they can work to change it. I'm always on their side. I won't always do what they want, but I'm always on their side.

Finding consequences for older kids may be more challenging to me as a mom, but it's also more interesting. And it always teaches me something new about them.

I hope it's teaching my kids something too.

Discipline isn't my favorite part of the job, but getting to be their teacher, is. Thanks for reading, and if you liked my blog, please click the link below which registers a vote for me, would you? Thanks. You're the best!
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