As magical as 1, 2, 3!

A few posts back I was talking about my lack of being consistent. Not only does lack of staying constant affect my own life, it really does affect my parenting. My children constantly test me and push my tiny buttons because they know it will work. Older people have done this to me too, and I am really learning how empowering setting limits and sticking to them can make my world oh so wonderful. J

Last week my teenage daughter tested the waters (again!). She had been disrespectful towards the family, skipped school and lied about it. After giving her a chance to explain, her consequence was as follows: she received eight plasticized monopoly money that she could use, over 4 days, in exchange for her computer time. Each 10$ bill equals 1 hour (pls note that she is usually free to use the computer between 6 and 9) She had to decide which times were most important to her. In addition, the Thursday and Friday were to be “friend free” no friends no sleepovers.

When setting clear rules and consequences with a teen, and even a toddler, you have to be prepared for “the storm”!! Yes, its going to get worse before it gets better…oh and yes, they will try to get out of it… and she did at least 3 times!!

1st Thursday night she cleaned the whole house, top to bottom, all around. I let her go! ..of course I did! I was getting free maid service;

2nd She wrote me love letters after love letters. I wrote her back, explaining once again, why I was not letting go of the consequences, “I love you too… and ya thanks for cleaning our house… It looks great! J

3rd (THE STORM) She tried to bully me out of it. She screamed, she yelled, she slammed her doors. She got into my face, tried to sneak the computer back on etc.. etc.. I remained calm, didn’t budge, and told her “Speaking to me in this manner is not acceptable, please go to your room and calm down” After a couple of times she did..and slammed.. then… nothing. Just the sound of her music, some drum practicing, and then sleep.

The next morning, after saying: “good morning” in her normal happy tone.. We went into her room to talk. I told her she had free rhelm to say anything she wanted without me replying, judging or screaming. My role was to remain silent and listen (this good piece of advice was from an amazing twitter friend). So I did, I listened. In the end, she asked me some questions, so I had to break the silence.

Right then.. I felt the connection. I knew she was listening, and I was too. It was such a nice change in our relationship. I know we are learning to find each other again.. and I am learning, that this amazing girl is really that: amazing. We just have to take it one stepping stone at a time.. and yes we will go through this again, but this time we both know what to expect!

Note:  The next day when I gave her her 3rd and last warning with a clear message and intent (because warning’s can come in 3’s) I said: “If you continue making noise with your friend while your brother is trying to sleep, I will unplug the internet”  I was pure silence after that.. ahhhh…