Last week our children were playing music on our stereo. This is really nothing unusual, they do play music on our stereo a lot to have “dance parties” and are normally really well. However, on this particular day they kept arguing with each other. After a few times of warning them we ended up taking the CD away from them that they kept arguing about. Right after my husband took the CD away he had to leave for work. He told me which one he took away from them and that they could not have it back until the next day.
Consequences for Making Bad Decisions
Not too long after my husband left for work my daughter Megan said there was something wrong with the CD player. As it turns out they had gotten ahold of the CD my husband took away, put it in the CD player which then got jammed. To say I was livid would be an understatement. I told them there are consequences for making bad decisions and this is one of a few they would be receiving. I was actually really upset that they had the nerve to go against orders right under my nose. I was working 20 feet from them, was I not going to hear the music? On top of that to break our CD player while doing something they were told specifically not to do was another point of frustration.
I ended up disconnecting the CD player from the receiver and pulling it out of the entertainment center. When I was pulling it out all the CD’s fell out, but yet I could not get the CD player to actually open. I took the CD player apart and still could not get it to work. In the meantime, I took the iPod Touch away from Megan for 2 days, would not allow the kids to play or watch TV the rest of the day and all three went to bed very early that night.
Standing Up to Peer Pressure
While I was working on the CD player Megan had gone outside and gathered flowers to put in glasses and present to me as an “I’m sorry”. Megan started to put the flower into the glasses and Anna helped her. I know they felt bad, but I was really frustrated with the lack of respect for authority. I was also frustrated that instead of owning up to what was done Megan said that Anna “made her” do it. Megan is 9 and Anna is 4. I explained to Megan that she knows right from wrong and she needs to stand up to peer pressure and tell her sister (or anyone) “No that is wrong” and then walk away no matter how much begging goes on.
The next day I showed my husband the CD player, he plugged it in and it worked! I swear I had just tried it and it would not work for me. Apparently it just needed his magic touch. We decided to not tell the kids at that point it was working again. We both felt this was a good natural consequence for not following rules. He did put back into the entertainment center and did not say anything. A short time later they wanted to turn on music so my daughter asked for her iTouch to which I promptly said no, it was taken away for two days. She started to complain and I told her this is one of the consequences for making bad decisions.
Eventually the iPod Touch was given back and they were told the CD player was working. What I am hoping comes out of this is first they do not try to be sneaky again and go against direct orders. Is that asking too much? Even as I write this I know it will inevitably happen again because that is what kids do – they constantly test the boundaries. The second thing I hope is that Megan learns to say no to something she knows is wrong. I think that is what worries me the most. I did ask her what if someone asked her to drink something she knew was wrong what she would do. She said she would say no, but then I asked her how will she be able to say no when she could not even say no to her 4 year old sister. I think the biggest thing with Megan is she is really afraid of doing things she knows can be harmful to her or her body.
How do you as parents reinforce with your children that they should never feel pressured into doing something they know is wrong?