More on Parenting

While I am on the topic of parenting, I thought I would mention some of my favorite parenting stories. One had to do with a situation in which a child had been told to look both ways before crossing the street. But one day, he stepped out of the family car and, without looking, darted across the street toward the house where his favorite TV show would soon be starting. His mother calmly took him by the arm and said, “I guess I haven’t done a very good job of teaching you to cross a street. Let’s work on that right now.” Then she took her son back across the street where he’d begun, and slowly walked him through the routine. “Look to the right. There you go. Do you see any cars coming? Good. Now look to the left. Is it clear? Okay, let’s walk.” And it didn’t stop there. “Just to make sure you’ve got it right, let’s do it a few more times.” Meanwhile, the treasured TV show was going on without the boy being able to see it.

Another one I liked was when a little girl had told her dad that she had indeed cleaned her bedroom as she flew out of the house to go swimming with a friend. However, when the father checked later, he realized that the job had not been done. He went over to the town’s swimming pool to retrieve his daughter and brought her home to do the job. It was an inconvenience for him but he said it really nipped a problem in the bud.

This is another that I thought was great. A boy was negligent of his duty to see that the garbage was taken out on garbage day. When the father heard the truck coming down the street, he took it out himself, saying nothing to the boy. When allowance day came… and let’s say the boy gets ten dollars allowance… the father handed him three. “Where is the rest of my allowance?” the boy asked. “Well,” father told him. “I noticed that you were not doing your chore of taking out the garbage so I did it for you. I charge seven dollars per time.”

I heard from a couple of parents who took their children to the local police station when they learned that their children had stolen something. Another told me that when one of her children was guilty of playing with fire she made arrangements to have him get an earful from the fire marshal. Another parent told the story of the time she brought her daughter back to the store to return a stolen item and tell the store manager what she had done. I think that police and fire officials and store owners are pleased to see parents put so much into their parenting. They certainly see plenty of what happens parents are remiss.


2 thoughts on “More on Parenting”

  1. I worked with a surgeon who used to bring his kids in to ICU to see teens and young adults who’d had accidents while drinking and driving. But it didn’t work, one of his kids was killed while drinking and driving. Adolescents tend to think it won’t happen to me.

    I discovered how my daughter was cleaning her room. She was away for a weekend and I decided to spring clean her room. Underneath her bed was like a trash compactor!!

    I don’t know if I got lucky or what but I always stressed to my kids if they chose to drink and drive I would not rescue them if they got arrested. I told them they could call me and I would pick them up, no questions, no punishment. I also modeled never drinking and driving. None have ever drank and driven. One even asked a police officer for a ride home (yes, the officer drove him home). To this day there is always a designated driver, as often as not, it’s one of my kids.

    1. Thanks for sharing. I know parents who had a kind of “contract” with their kids about calling if they have had been drinking and “no questions asked.” I know it is hard because we get this muddled thinking that we are encouraging rather than deterring irresponsibility. I heard once that parenting is an art, not a science. I think it is so true. We give it our best shot with love and humility and hope for the best outcomes. When I started parenting children I thought of them as little blobs of clay that I molded. But I came to realize they are little plants that I water and set in the sun. I don’t know what kind of plant they are…until I see the blossoms.

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