You know what sucks about being a parent? Enforcing consequences. I feel like a class 1 ogre for doing what it is I’m supposed to do as a parent.

Summer has been missing her library book for several days now, and we’ve had no idea where it’s been. But I’ve been pretty lazy about making her find it. But today is Thursday, and tomorrow is library day. So once she got home from school, I made it pretty clear that she would be doing nothing until her book was found. So she looked a little, and then decided that, oh well, her book was just gone. I was furios at this display! Just last weekend, she lost her wrapping paper sales fundraiser envelope at her dad’s house, and I was left to scramble and figure out who ordered what at last minute, because nobody could find it. Then this, a library book, lost with no worries. Well, I made it clear that if she didn’t find it, she would not be going to play in her soccer game this weekend, or be able to go to her playdate with her friend. Needless to say, this got her in the searching and cleaning mode.

This was supposed to be a special weekend for her. Since I’m going to be gone at the women’s retreat this weekend, I set it up with her friend’s grandmother to pick Summer up and take her to the game. After the game, Summer was going to go to the grandma’s house to go swimming, and they were also going to go to the Harvest Fair together.

We turned the house upside down. My room is fairly clean as a result of going through everything and putting it in the right order. But the book never came up. And Summer began to panic, and tried to barter with me to change the punishment to no TV for a month. This is a case of coming up with the right punishment because it really means something. But it also sucks because I came up with a punishment that really means something.

I had to call the grandmother tonight and let her know that Summer would unfortunately not be joining them this weekend. The grandmother was shocked when she realized I was also taking Summer’s soccer game away. The tone of her voice made it clear that she thought I was a horrible parent because I was doing so. The snobbish parent in me thought about how mismannered Summer’s friend is on a regular basis because she has no boundaries whatsoever. But it still doesn’t change that I would give anything to have actually chosen a different punishment to begin with, because I know I cannot give in on the punishment I start with.

The good news is that it is very likely that Summer has learned something here, and that is to be more responsible with her things. If she has learned her lesson, her library book will be kept in one place, and things of importance will not be shuffled away and lost in the clutter. And I may have done my job as a parent, but I feel like I’m being punished too.


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