Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm Not a Fan of Follow-Through


Dear Ryan,

I'm sitting here at the kitchen table, heartbroken that you’re grounded over Spring Break.  I’m not just being mean.  It’s called a consequence.  We discussed earlier in the semester that you were dangerously close to receiving a C in Science.  Buddy, if you had worked your hardest, studied tirelessly for tests, brought homework home and made a C in Science, I’d say, “Good for you!”, “ You worked really hard and earned that C!”  But you didn’t.   You chose to come home, go straight to your room, flip on the TV and play Minecraft with your friends.  Any time I asked about homework or if you needed help with homework, you replied, “No.”

Ryan, there is only so much hand holding I can do for you.  You’re 12.  At some point, you have to learn to take responsibility; responsibility for your school work, and responsibility for your actions.  Your only job right now is school.  That’s your only job!   That means, doing your homework, studying for tests and asking for help when you don’t understand something.   This is all part of that elusive “growing up” thing we keep talking about.  You can’t see it, but it’s happening so fast, it’s making my head spin.

As much as I want to suspend your grounding for a few days so we can do all of the fun things I planned for us over Spring Break, I'm not going to.  I’m not going to back down off of the consequence I warned you about due to your choice of actions. (Or in this case, inaction.)

When I saw you were close to receiving a C, I warned you that if you didn’t get your grade up to a B, you would lose everything you hold near and dear to you (read: anything electronic).  No TV, no X-Box, no cell phone, no computer – nothing - until that grade comes up.  Lucky for you, you live in a very forgiving time, academically.  You have the option to go in and make up any low grade for 50% credit.  You also have the option to go in to any class during the designated tutoring time and receive extra help.  Back in my day of going to school, we didn’t have those options.  We might have had a couple of teachers who offered tutoring, but it certainly wasn’t mandatory for them to do so.  And if we got a 42% on a test, that 42% held down our overall average like a boat anchor.  It was almost impossible to recover from such a low grade.

Take advantage of the help that’s offered to you now, while it’s still available!  Because, re-dos and do-overs aren’t always possible in school – and certainly not in life.

Speaking of help, I know it feels like this grounding is the furthest thing from help.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s killing me that you’re sitting in your room listening to the other kids play ball outside.  This is a learning week for the both of us, kiddo.  You're learning that if you would have just put in the 15 or 20 minutes of school work each day, that this week might not be so miserable.  I'm learning that sticking to my parental guns is one of the hardest things to do.  Sometimes "help" comes disguised as a lesson.

But maybe, just maybe, this is just the lesson you need to learn that I'm not always going to be there to rescue you.  You're going to have to put in some hard work on your end, and learn to be your own safety net.  It's not always going to be fun, but I promise you it will be worth it.  And maybe, just maybe you’ll learn that your mom’s word is something that can be trusted - for better or for worse.   

If those two lessons can be learned from this week, then I give us both an A+.

I promise you this discipline and subsequent lesson come from a place of love.  One day, you'll understand what that seemingly impossible sentence means.

One lesson at a time,

Mom

13 comments:

  1. I love this letter! You are a good Mom!

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  2. Great letter! I feel bad for both you and your son but you're right, it has to be done. Hopefully I'll remember this post if/when I have a similar situation with my kiddies. Good luck!

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    1. I have a bad habit of issuing warnings with punishments I don't really want to follow through with...we're both learning. Thank you for reading, Ellie!

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  3. That's an awesome letter! I don't have kids, but I still know how hard it is to stick to your guns. Good luck with the rest of spring break. :-)

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  4. Oh, gosh. I am D-R-E-A-D-I-N-G this part of parenthood. Especially since I was a pain in the ass at that age. I was SO smart. I was supposed to skip 6th grade, then decided it 'wasn't cool' to be smart and just barely MADE it to the 7th grade. My parents were furious and I hated them for expecting so much from me. Now I hate myself for being so stupid back then! The opportunities I threw away repeatedly, even through highschool..

    What I wouldn't give to go back and give myself a slap in the face and a little look into the future. I'm happy, SO happy with my life and I would not give my family up for anything. But, I could have SO much more. This family AND a better education - I could've graduated college by now, had a career. Done something for myself.

    I hope Ryan realizes that you aren't a Mommy Monster and that you genuinely give a crap about his education and hope that HE starts to give a crap, too.

    Good luck on the follow through! I'm having trouble with it now and the hardest I have to follow through on is a full three minute time-out.

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    1. I am letting him read this fantastic comment! I so wish I could go back in time and tell the "16 year-old me" a thing or 26! I knew you were smart, I just didn't know you were "skip a grade" smart! You're like a celebrity...and you have plenty of time do something for yourself, Marissa. Enjoy those babies while you can - there's a whole world out there that isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The discipline thing, though...it blows! xo

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    2. Keyword being 'WAS' so smart. :) I just know I could've been so much more than a stay at home mom. I love it, I do, and I hope no one reads this and thinks I hate my life. Being a SAHM is a hard freakin' job, no lie! I just know that I had potential. And I hope that I can be more than what I am now, someday.

      YES, let him read this! Please! Let it (hopefully) be a wake up call that doing your school work may not get him voted Coolest Guy in School, but ten years from now, he'll BE SOMEBODY and those "cool kids" probably won't be shit.

      And thank you for the encouragement! I'll get there someday, I know it. Right now, like you said, I'm just enjoying these sweet babies!

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  5. Follow through SUCKS! What the kids don't realize is that not only are they getting punished, but SO ARE YOU! As if you wanted to spend the entire Spring Break with him on lockdown and not getting to do anything fun. UGH! So sorry this is how you're spending it. Stay strong, Momma. Awesome letter and he'll thank you one day. Eventually.

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    1. Someone better, dammit! And it's so true! Why, oh WHY, don't I think before I throw out a punishment like that!? Ugh...

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  6. I'm glad my kids don't act like that. ;)

    Ahh those pesky consequences. I used to hear of those all the time growing up. That, and "choices". I remember when I first started hammering out the 'ole consequences with my son and realizing it's like a million times harder than I ever expected. And I'm just talking about canceling our trip to the bounce house kind of consequences! Ugh. Hang tough there Momma. Not only does your son need you to, but think of me. I'm just starting out. You need to set a good example for me, too. No pressure or anything.

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    1. No pressure at all! We're just sitting here doing absolutely effing nothing on Spring Break - I am drinking at 2:11 pm, though. So, that's kinda - well, like most Tuesdays, really. This is seriously the hardest thing to do. He's never grounded, first of all - so this is like going from never running to running a marathon. It sucks, I tell ya. But I'll be your freaking example - I better be rewarded with an A in science and well-behaved kid for the rest of puberty ;)

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