I was flabbergasted, completely stunned. At 1 am my 13 year old daughter came into my room to get something. I have no idea what but there is nothing important enough in my room that I should have been woken up just as I was drifting off to sleep.
Let me back up a bit…I’m sure you might be wondering why my daughter was up at 1 am on a week night. Well, it’s officially summer vacation for my kids. They were supposed to be going to NH with their dad but in what should not have been a surprising turn of events he went up without them, leaving them with me for two weeks with nothing to do while I work.
I abhor the idea of my kids sitting around the house all day doing nothing. It’s important to me that they find engaging activities while I’m not with them, but if the two of them were left to their own devices they would probably spend the day watching TV and playing games on their phones, not because they particularly want to do those things but rather they lack the motivation to find something more interesting.
So in a fit of utter insanity I invited 3 of their friends to spend the week with us (Wednesday to Friday). These are good kids that I trust who have spent a lot of time with us (having 5 kids at my house for days on end is not unusual). Wednesday night 3 of them tackled the project of painting 2 rooms in my house, so the house has been torn apart for days. The other 2 have been busy doing crafts and other small projects. It’s been good for everyone, mostly.
When the kids have friends over I have 2 rules about them going to bed:
1. Don’t keep me up
2. Don’t wake me up
They can sleep as late as they want while they’re on vacation but I have to get up to work.
Well, last night they broke both of these rules. The fault lies entirely with my kids, not their friends. They were inconsiderate. The consequence for breaking these rules is clear and non negotiable. No more sleepovers. Not forever, but enough to be painful. It is the natural, logical consequence for breaking the rules and has been well known for years.
Next weekend I’m taking 2 of these kids (plus another friend) with us on our trip to Georgia. The very tired part of me wants to just tell them that their friends can’t come. It would be an excellent lesson and they would certainly learn that I’m serious about these rules. But this trip will be more fun for all of us if their friends come. I’ve already committed to the kids and their parents, and it’s not their fault that my kids were inconsiderate.
So tonight I will need to make a decision about how to handle this. Some parents might disagree with this, but I’m going to talk with them to see if they can come up with a reasonable consequence that will be better for everyone than the one I really should be enforcing. I hope we can reach a compromise because I’m really looking forward to this trip.
It’s often surprising what they can come up with in these situations. Sometimes they are better at this parenting thing than I am!
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Flabbergasted