Celebrating Women...for the Real World
Tuesday, May 17, 2005 The baby of the family doesn't stand a chance!

One of the biggest complaints that I hear from my two oldest children is "the baby gets everything he wants, its always his way". Keep in mind, the baby they are referring to would be my youngest son who is about to turn 12! I happen to be the "baby" of the family and heard this with regularity from my older brother and sister. In actuality, I felt like THEY were the ones who got everything or more so, got AWAY with everything. This may sound odd, but I just ended a phone conversation with my youngest son and had to laugh at my reaction, or lack there of to a behavior issue. I am interested in finding out if others out there see this as the "baby" actually getting the short end of the stick.

To recap, my cell phone rings at 2:00 and I recognize the number to be that of the Jr. High that my youngest son attends. The conversation went something like this-"Mom, I was supposed to turn in homework last Thursday (today is Tuesday). I forgot to do it." Hearing the teacher in the background and being that this is my 3rd one to go through 6th grade I say "Did the teacher send it home for you to do over the weekend?" "Yes, but I forgot to do it then also". "Son, I asked you if you had homework when I opened your backpack and saw the book in there, that means that you lied to me." Suddenly I'm faced with silence on the other end. I know that I must be right in my assumption and, unbeknownst to my son, his silence was basically his admission of guilt. "Son, you now must do it tonight and you are grounded this Friday. No friends may come over and you may not visit them." At this point he realizes that he can't deny anything as the teacher is standing right there. When he gets home, he calls and is very "short" with me wanting an answer to a specific question, but no chit-chat.

You may be asking how this is relevant to the title. I'll tell you how. With my 1st, I would have assumed the teacher was at fault, or that I obviously did something that caused mental anguish and this is his way of acting out. I would have administered punishment, run to the book store, checked out every book on better parenting because I would have been sure that somehow I failed him as a parent and he acted because of me. By the end of the day, I would be rationalizing the punishment and decide that I was too harsh. Then my 2nd comes along and tries some of the same stunts. I'm learning their tricks and manipulations. I've created relationships with their teachers (we're on a first name basis, my first two are just a year a part in school). I've figured out that it's not the end of the world if my child doesn't talk to me because they are angry. But I most likely second guessed my punishment as life circumstances tend to get a bit overwhelming when you're trying the be the "Supermom" (more on that later). Now, child three comes along, get the call, know the drill, administer the punishment, stick to it, and laugh at what my reaction was when child #1 tried this same stuff. I am completely confident with my decision and know that my child's actions most likely does not mean that he is a juvenile delinquent, but more likely, he's just being a kid. Case in point, he doesn't stand a chance of getting out of this punishment because my other two children raised me well, therefore, he gets the short end of the stick.

Posted by Sheri & SuZan :: 6:33 PM :: 2 comments

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