As a parent I believe strongly that my kids need to learn the consequences of bad choices. When raising children from babies (whether biological or adopted)you have the opportunity to let your children learn about consequences from early on. When you bring older children into your life, you have missed these early opportunities. I have found that this can be very challenging to say the least!
Since bringing Mita and Enu home we have been trying to let them learn the natural consequences of making bad choices. For example, if you break your Mp3 player by throwing it around, you no longer have a Mp3 player. I think they were shocked that Mommy wasn’t going to go out to the “big store” and get a new one off the shelf.
Last week my three older girls misbehaved for the baby sitter. They had the computer and the Wii taken away for a week, had to write an apology note to the sitter and are not allowed to go to friend’s houses or outings for a month. It was explained to all of them that if mommy and daddy cannot trust them to behave for a babysitter, how can we know that they can behave for other adults? While she was bummed about the punishment, I don’t think that Mita quite understood it fully until tonight when her friend’s mom called and asked her over for to play for a few hours. She was so shocked that she could not go. Now she has only been at this friend’s house twice, play dates away from home are very new for us and so she has not ever been told no she cannot go. Let’s just say the tears and dirty looks were abundant tonight. She has already had to write the sentence, “I will not lie to mommy,” thirty times for lying to me this morning. It was a hard day for Mita today.
Hubby and I reviewed the punishment (with ourselves not the kiddos) and agreed it was not to harsh and a good learning experience. We also talked about how the concept of punishment seems to be taking a long time for them to grasp. I wonder how their dad punished them in Ethiopia? Most likely it was a quick smack or spanking and not long punishments like we tend to give out. They had no Wii, Mp3 players, or DS’s to have taken away.
Learning consequences can be hard for all of us. Learning consequences while learning a different language and attaching to new parents must be incredibly stressful for my little girls. I hope that we are doing a good job. She spent some time on my lap crying tonight, holding me tight. While I hate to see her cry, I’m glad she knew she could come to me for comfort, even after punishing her. Parenting brings question after question doesn’t it? What punishments or forms of discipline have you used to help your older kids learn?