"Come at me, bro" parenting

When my kids were little we read all the books and advice and landed on a few parenting strategies we felt were a good fit for our personality. We parented with love and logic and counted to 3 and employed reward charts.

But that was back when we had patience. And younger kids.

I hit a wall this week. A wall of exhaustion and frustration and lack of patience. A wall of fatigue from saying things out of my mouth that everyone ignores. And from that well of goodness, I began a new parenting strategy. One that I made up myself. I'm calling it, COME AT ME, BRO.

Some examples:

Yesterday I walked into my girls room to find what looked like the remains of a tornado. They were at school and I grabbed a trashbag and quietly put every item that wasn't furniture into said trashbag. And then I put it in the goodwill pile. Mind you, this is after many, many threats to do this. But I hit a wall and cracked. They've been put on notice that each morning, anything left out will be put in this bag, until they have nothing left. Their was much weeping and gnashing of teeth but I will not be moved. Maybe next time they will listen.

Last night, as we were eating dinner, I informed the kids that anyone not having appropriate table manners would be sent to their rooms from the table for 3 minutes to contemplate how to eat in a more civilized way. I'm tired of our dinnertime looking like the table scene from that movie about Helen Keller. So one of my kids, who likes to shovel his food and chew with his mouth open and lean back in his chair, was invited to spend a good portion of his dinner in his room. Because I guess he thought I wasn't serious.

After dinner, I asked the kids to take baths and don their pj's so that we could watch an episode of Master Chef Jr. together. I told them we would start the show in 30 minutes, and that only bathed and pj'ed kids could watch. And 30 minutes later, when I had unbathed kids trying to wander in to the living room because they'd wasted their time, I let them know . . . show is starting. I don't care if you miss half of it. So I watched the first half of Master Chef Jr. by myself while 4 crying kids took their showers. Maybe next time they will hear me.



And then today . . . when the kids came home from school, I had to remind one child that his nonfiction book report is due tomorrow. A thing I have been reminding him of for two weeks. And has he started said nonfiction book? No. He has instead spent the last week re-reading every Rick Riordian book he owns. So today after school I made him sit in his room and read the book until dinner, and then after bedtime I made him sit in the living room and read until he is finished. Maybe next time he will manage his time better.

I'm sure I will find some better parenting strategies later this week. I'm sure that my fatigue and lingering cold and impending menstrual cycle may be affecting my judgement. And yes, I do realize that COME AT ME, BRO may not be a sustainable model for raising children.

But that's where I'm at today.




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