The day started awfully! For once I had planned to do something with the kids, on their day off from school. I was going to surprise them with a movie and a lunch out. This, you have to understand, is a big deal for my deprived children. I never make plans to go to museums, aquariums etc on their off days. They play, read, write, lounge around or work. I only oblige when they request a trip to the library. So today was going to be special. I was happy to imagine their surprised faces. But…..the day started off badly with bickering, a lot of bickering. I tried to mediate by saying, ‘Make good choices, we are going to watch a movie and go out for lunch! Bad behavior will take the privilege away!’ ‘Really?? Awesome!!! All of a sudden, peace prevailed….for a while!
Half an hour before we were about to leave, a huge fight, complete with pushing, shoving, kicking, screaming, broke out. Instead of refereeing a ‘he kicked me’, ‘she tackled me to the ground’ sort of verbal boxing match, I calmly said, ‘I am so sorry guys, the movie is off!’ Complete silence and disbelief! Sahana has trouble saying sorry, her defiant comment was ‘Fine!’ Ryan gulped down the tears quickly and said, ‘I am sorry, we can go now, I am calm!’ We didn’t go, it was disappointing for all three of us since I was looking forward to the movie as well. But we had a wonderful conversation followed by a group hug! They listened to my reason for taking away the movie privilege – if we make bad choices, there are consequences. I asked them to tell me honestly what they did wrong that morning, without blaming each other. They did. Ryan apologized to Sahana for initiating the fight, Sahana said sorry for losing her temper and pinning him down. I said I was very sorry for taking away a fun morning but I hoped they understood my reason for doing so. They both agreed I had made the right choice! Phew! Close save from being termed the ‘mean mom’ (they probably thought that in their minds, didn’t verbalize it for fear of getting into trouble)!
We had a group hug and promised to try the fun outing on a next school holiday! It was a proud moment for me as a mother for several reasons. I didn’t lose my temper, I was so tempted NOT to follow through with the consequence (darn, I really wanted to watch the movie) but stuck with it (it was hard) but most importantly, the children accepted the punishment as a result of their action. They didn’t sulk or get angry, they said they messed up, next time, they will make a better choice! That’s the whole point, isn’t it? I have to say, their crestfallen faces made me feel like a scrooge. I hate to disappoint them, giving in is so easy! I also think this post is not going to make me very popular with my family and friends, is it?