So, I have taken away small things, like dessert and the Kindle, for Keaton’s talking back/eye-rolling infractions. I’ve threatened big punishments, but once she got worried, I always allowed her to earn her way out.

After school today, I told her and Hutton what they needed to do when they arrived home–clean their rooms up and pack for the weekend. I gave them embarrassingly simple instructions to follow. They seemed agreeable.  

I was wrong.

When the arguing started, I skipped the tiny threats–probably due to lack of sleep–and went right to “If I hear ONE more word about what needs to be done, we’re skipping Calvert Fun Night tonight!” 

Keaton’s FINAL Calvert Fun Night. 

“But MOM!,” she said.

TWO more words.

And that was it. I became the mom who cancelled Fun Night.

I also became the meanest mother ever. After way too much drama, I went for my run, and got a call from my daughter about a mile from home letting me know she and her brothers–in what I assumed was a thinly veiled attempt to make me change my mind–had cleaned and vacuumed their rooms, packed their bags, and unloaded the dishwasher.

Emotionless. “K, I’ll be home in a little bit.” Click.

I arrived at the house and sat in the driveway to stretch. Keaton came out, apologized, but never said a word about Fun Night. I accepted. And we went on about our evening.

You know how they give high school kids computerized dolls that cry and have to fed and changed as way of preventing teen pregnancy? 

Child’s play. 

Give them a computerized pre-teen girl who isn’t getting her way and make them successfully diffuse the situation while doling out an appropriately stern but fair punishment that builds character. 

Because THAT’S parenting. And it’s a lot harder than it looks…

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