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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Where's my parenting handbook???

Every once in a while, as a parent, you are blindsided with a situation in which you have to make a decision for the good of your child, and you have NO FREAKING IDEA what to do.

Yesterday was that day.

My son was up during the night complaining of a tummy ache. I finally got him back to sleep (albeit on the couch with me beside him at his insistance) around 2:00 AM. I went in to wake him up for school the next morning and to assess his situation.

I knew he was feeling a little better, so I told him to go get dressed, and he had a total melt down, but got dressed. Then, when I told him to get his shoes on he fell apart again. I realized he was probably feeling very sleep-deprived, and was hessitant to send him to school, but I also didn't want him to think he could just stay home whenever he felt tired.

Finally, I said: "Ok. You have a choice: Either you can go to school and try your best, or you can stay home and be sick. HOWEVER: if you stay home, you don't get to play video games OR play with friends, and you have to stay in bed all day because you're sick. You don't just get to play. Understand?"

He thought for a minute, then finally decided he was sick enough to stay home.

Around 10:30 AM, he was bouncing off the walls and wanted to play video games. He was whining about how he gets to play video games when he's sick on other days, but why not today? I asked how he was feeling and he said fine. Just as I thought.

Now it was time to teach a lesson. "No. you can't play video games, you chose to have a sick day today, so you spend it in bed."

He begged me to send him back to school so he could play with friends later, but I stood firm. I said he knew the choice he was making that morning. The consequence is that he doesn't get to play with friends when he stays home sick from school- whether he's really sick or not. I wanted him to learn that he can't just sleep in when he's tired, claim he's sick, and then go to school whenever he gets up.

The day was torture for him... it was even more torture for me! But I think the lesson was learned. He will think twice before staying home again when he's not really sick.

I'm glad that hurdle is crossed- what next?!


Jen said...

I always hated that rule as a child. I'll still implement it, but I really didn't like it. Way to stand firm!

Ryan and Shannan Hoffman said...

Wow, that's a tough one! I think you did the right thing for sure. But you taught him a good lesson, and I doubt he'll try to do that one again. :)

Andrea said...

Good job sticking to your guns. That's how responsible parents work!