Thursday, April 14, 2005

Parenting vs Friendship?

Parenting has never been easy for me. Balancing my friendly relationship with my kids, without crossing into that blurred area where they see you as buddies and not parents.

I love my relationship with Logan. It's open, honest, funny, friendly. I really like him. He likes me too, and we respect each other. We also have established a boundry where he knows to cross it means my wrath and punishment. I expect respect. I expect that my trust in him will be rewarded with honesty and a lot of work on his part to do the right things.

Sometimes he crosses that line. Of course, hello. He is only sixteen. And though seventeen looms just a few weeks away, that doesn't mean he won't do stupid things. Nope. If anything it means that the volatile mix of hormones, boyish pride, and a desire to be a grown man, will press him to do a great many more dumb things than I've even thought about being concerned over so far. Take that explosive batch of goodies and mix it in with his other friends, and peer pressure... and KABOOM!

Yeah. It happens. I am not a huge believer in beatings. I have spanked on occasion, but find it less effective than losing what is important to my kids. Hit them and they cry, scowl, and the only thing they remember about the incident down the road is that you hurt them. Take the Playstation, the television, the right to see their friends, and before too long they are pleading for mercy. Mine have begged for the short term kindness of a beating over the consequences I lay down instead.

Tonight Logan and I had one of those sessions. One of those... "oh wow, this was incredibly bad, now what do I do" evenings. He expected me to have a meltdown. Instead we had a discussion, and I took a great many of his privileges from him. At first he thought he'd gotten off easily, then about an hour later he really thought about what my edicts meant to his freedoms, and he slumped into a minor depression. Half an hour after that he told me it was difficult because he knew he deserved it, knew I had been considerate and fair in my punishment. And now he was feeling bad because he realized he was the only one to blame, and he'd let me down.

I could not have choreographed a better ending to the evening. It was the response I'd hoped for. It doesn't always work that way, but when it does it's awesome.

I often wonder how other people deal with their kids, and if my relationship with my kids is unusual or not. From the way my boys talk about their friends parents, we have a really good thing here. But it's a big world out there... lotsa parents we've never seen.

It is late, and my confrontations have wearied me. Perhaps I'll dream of a vacation... something soothing I can't afford right now. :)

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