Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do Unto Others...Does it apply to you and your kids?

I'm in a weird space. I actually have two different topics on my mind and if time permits, I will post again later with those thoughts. Right now I am pondering this question, the saying do unto others as you would like others to do unto you, does this apply to your relationship with your children? I'll clarify. My oldest girls are getting to the age when in my honest opinion they are feeling themselves a little too much. They live a great life, I can't lie. They don't want for much. My husband and I often joke that in our next life, we are coming back as S & K. Here's the thing, we have a pretty simple philosophy on discipline and behavior..."do the right thing!" It's that simple. We lay out our expectations and then let them go. The girls do marvelously in school. We get glowing reports all the time from their teachers and other school officials. Now at home, well it's a different story. Mainly because my daughters are "frienamies." If you have two children close in age, you already know that this is; your children are friends one minute and fierce enemies the next. At school my daughters are friends. You can hear the tune "Ebony and Ivory" by Wonder and McCarthy playing in the background as they skip through the school hallways. Now the minute they enter the car, all bets are off and they come out swinging.

Now that summer has arrived and the hallways of school are almost forgotten, the gloves have been coming off more and more. My girls fight about everything from what games to play, who get to sit next to the baby, and who is breathing louder. Just craziness. In addition to this, they rarely listen to requests made of them to clean up, pick up, keep it down, stop hitting, and the list goes on. I know that most of this comes with the territory of being siblings.

Here's my question: At what point as a parent, do you continue to just treat these children like they are glowing, model children, ignore their behaviors and give them the desires of their hearts so-to-speak or do you say, "you wanna act like crazed, inappropriate, non-listening people, you will be treated accordingly." I am not trying to corporal punish anyone, but does that mean my children can fight, not listen to me all day long and then turn around and request all sorts of treats, toys, goodies and now that we are entering the DuBose birthday season, which spans from July to September; the all important birthday celebrations and present lists.

I am seriously torn. One minute I tell myself to just ignore much of their behaviors because they are just doing what kids do-get on their parents nerves! Then on the other side, I say, "No, they want to misbehave, then they can make that choice, but I have the choice not to plan elaborate and expensive parties. To me those things are truly gifts and rewards. I have no problems purchasing a few presents and having a family celebration at our house. However when my children ask for parties at play zones and bear workshops; that stuff is not free. Heck, it's not even cheap! I have to think long and hard before I hand over my hard earned money when in my opinion, whether or not my children deserve it, is questionable at best.

So what's the answer? "Do unto my children as I would like them to do unto me?" Or, is it more "life is choices and they choose to misbehave so  I choose to keep my money in my wallet." I don't know. I have a party scheduled for one of my daughters and her behavior challenges me everyday. I am seriously tempted to cancel and call everyone and tell them something came up. Thoughts?