Sunday, March 14, 2010

This Will Hurt Me More than it Hurts You...Or Will it?

Today was one of those days when I felt like a big, steaming pile of poo. You know those moments, as a parent, when you have to do something because it's the right thing...nay...the responsible parent thing? But it kills you to do it?

Quick side note to bring you up to speed: Our neighbors down the street are moving, out of state, and are taking their ten year old son with them...the gall! And this boy and Boy-Child#2 are like *this*. They play outside together almost daily. And fight and piss each other off about once every other month. But they always eventually make up and are back to daily outside adventures. So these neighbors are moving. Tomorrow. Meaning, this was the boys' very last weekend to play together. And they'll probably never see each other again.

Well, except maybe on Facebook.

Okay, well, this past Friday afternoon, Boy-Child#2 found himself grounded. I'm not going to go into detail as to why, but believe me the punishment was dealt swiftly and justly. And that punishment includes but is not limited to: no video games, no computer, and no playing outside.

I am a stick to my guns kind of parent, people. I don't cave. I don't make deals. Otherwise kids will know that there are no real consequences to their behavior - and that their parents are pussies. Not this mama.

Boy-Child#2 spent the weekend working on his science fair project and enjoyed reading a book; not an altogether horrible experience. Until the boy down the street came to the door today to see if Boy-Child#2 could "play out" - that's what the kids call it these days. I hear them murmur to each other through the screen door and my son comes to me to ask if he can play. I tell him that he is grounded and the answer is no. And I say it loud enough so that Neighbor Boy can hear so that Boy-Child#2 won't have to explain it himself. He's got his street cred to protect.

There's more conversation between the screen in hushed voices and Boy-Child#2 pleads again...Mommy PLLLEEEAAAAAAAAAAAASSSEE it's his last day to plaaaayyyyy. And again I tell him no. And with that he closed the door.

And my heart broke for him. But I was sticking to my guns [Editor's Note: that sound you just heard was Tootsie, writing, using past tense]. I started an argument in my own head... this is their last day to play together how can you be sooo mean?! ... He should have thought about that before he got himself grounded ... he's eleven and hasn't mastered the art of abstract thought ... please, the kids a genius, he knows what's up .... even still... I can't back down ... he will blame you for this forever ... you're so dramatic ... and you're being harsh. The voices in my head told me to consult with Mr. Farklepants.

Dear Husband, what's a mom to do?

Mr. Farklepants: let him go out and explain that this is a special circumstance and he's still grounded. You're making too big a deal out of this.


It was already 6pm. Boy-Child#2 was allowed to play outside one last time until dinner at 7pm.

Good thing we turned the clocks forward or it would have been too dark and too late.

I am curious though, what would you have done?


Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Play. *like*

cactus petunia said...

I would have let them play in.

WarsawMommy said...

I would have done exactly the same. And then MADE HIM PAY. Bwah-ha-ha-ha! (evil laugh, reminiscent of castles with lightning flashes and rolling clouds).

Actually. I would have done the same: explaining the special circumstances, but making clear that this was a VERY special time and such a concession will never. Happen. Again. Ever.

tashile said...

I probably would have said, "your punishment is still in effect, but right now you have a day pass" could be like a conjugal visit without the sex or sex-like a bromance. The rest of the punishment could be carried out the following weekend. Of course, what the hell do I know? I'm not that big on making deals with my kids either. The first sign of weakness and its like a scene out of "Its Alive".

Minnesota Matron said...

Hey Tootsie -- I have another place that would like to have you write for them (us). Can you send me an email at

That's zero one seven.

Mary (MN Matron)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'd have made that concession, too. (says the girl who moved every 3-4 years whilst growing up).

Bumpkin on a Swing said...

I would not have had children, another guilt trip. I'll pass :)

Amanda said...

I would have let them play. I'm a sucker and groundings can always be extended.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Exactly what you did.

The stick to your guns thing works only IF you have humanity and can be flexible.

I have been known to offer grounding "trades." A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arises when you're grounded? Then I'll trade you the one day/night for x number more days grounded, If it is important enough they will do it.

Stu said...

I have done similar things but if I 'trade' under certain circumstances then I increase the original punishment.

"OK, you can play outside for one hour but you will be on restriction one additional day".

This way they are not getting off and the decision is theirs.

Martha said...

I think you handled it just fine, it was a delicate issue. Sorry your son's friend is moving out of state.

barbra said...

I agree with everyone else, I would have let him play also. Suspend the grounding for that day, tack it on to the end (kind of like a snow day, huh?).

Christie said...

Ah, the grey areas. Parenthood is such a minefield of grey areas. I would have done the same thing, sighed deeply, and then had myself some chocolate.

Jason, as himself said...

I would have done the same thing! Anything else would have just been cruel.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Thanks you guys! I'm in good company here. Today was rough for him since his friend wasn't at school and knowing that the house down the street stands empty...well...ya know.

Marcy of The Glamorous Life said...

I would have let the kid play.

Plenty of other ways to teach the lesson.

This was his last moments together. I am sad for him.

Anonymous said...

Play. There will be enough hurting once his pal is gone. And, time enough to have the rest of his consequences dealt to him.

Diane J. said...

Yep, I would have done the same. I pretty much stick to my guns, but my husband is all nicey, nicey. I'm the person who is out to destroy my kids lives or so they say. Really, I do have a heart, though.

I just stumbled across your blog, love it!

Nelson's Mama said...

I'm just getting caught up Google reader.

I don't think it's just our job as parents to teach our kids right from wrong - it's also our responsibility to teach them sympathy and compassion.

Sometimes the answer isn't black or white it's a shade of gray and you go with your gut.

Children have plenty of opportunities to learn hard life lessons at the hands of others - he probably learned a lot more about kindness and understanding than you'll ever know.