Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pools, Parenting and Pointers

This afternoon has been one of those times when you remember parenting sure isn't for cowards!  I have also been reassured that real parenting, the parenting that lasts, takes time, consistency and sticking to your guns.

As my feet are still healing, today at gyn was just pure swimming for me with the kids. Swimming lessons are paying off and they are like fish, embracing the water and the freedom it brings. Aragorn took off his arm bands and swum all on his own - to tell you I was proud would be an understatement.

Sadly, I had climbed out the pool to phone Braveheart who works fairly close by (bags and towels are right there), to see if he could come and watch Aragorn's miracle, when on turning around, I saw him pushing his sister under...and keeping her there.

I charged in, rescued and settled Belle, and then started the parenting bit, in full view of endless other parents. He had done this once before, so this time I was not messing about. I calmly gave him the price of his actions, the consequnece: I banned him from swimming for the rest of the afternoon. For him (and understandably) his little heart was broken. And that's when it started to spiral out of control - his geuine sobs turned into a full blown angry tantrum where listening to mom was not an option.

So me? What did I do? I whipped out some tools I'd learnt a while back. I acknowledged his feelings, and how frustrating it must be to have to stop swimming; I reminded him of the reason he had to stop swimming...and then I gave him a choice. he could continue to cry (in the change room) or stay in the swimming room quietly. Sadly he did not choose, and so I chose one of the optins for him.In our family, failing to listen, or showing disrespect is dealt with quite severely.  (I've seen too many boys grow up to be teenagers who don't respect their mothers, and I  strongly believe that we are preparing for adolescence now....right now, we are cultivating the attitudes that will stay them for the course of their lives.) Any how, after a good 20 minutes or so, the waters were calm.

A lady came up to me at this point, and spoke such life to me - she complimented me on sticking to my guns, and being consistent, and making sure the lesson had been learnt (it's not like anyone could miss the screaming kicking drama in the corner of the pool!). She said she had never seen such thorough parenting (she's now a granny), and was so encouraged to see parenting can builds character and where children learn consequneces. I could have kissed her, I needed that after being in the war  - she may very well have been an angel!

And to top off the afternoon, just a little later, I took Belle to the toilet, and I left King Arthur with strict instrucitons to stay on the step. Sadly on my return I found him playing in the pool as well - and so he also had to face a concesquence for not listening to me. We spoke a lot about our relationship, and trusting one another, and what happens when that is broken.

And that got me thinking about the conversation we're going to have at dinner tonight - about instructions and our responses to them, about choices and consequences. This is what our children need to be taught - that every action, every thought, in deed EVERYTHING we do has a consequence - if we listen or not, if we learn or not, if we apply ourselves or not, if we are kind, or not...think on anything - it's the pure truth. How are we training our children to learn to make wise choices, and to face their consequences?

Food for thought huh?

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