Friday, April 29, 2011

"The Note"

Megan is my middle child and, until recently,  she has been a typically joyous and happy child.  She does, however, wear her heart on her sleeve and gets her feelings hurt pretty easily (usually by her older sister!).  During the past couple weeks, though, Megan has developed quite a rebellious and disgruntled attitude.  This "bad attitude" gets kicked off in full force most days during the car ride home from school.  I pick up my two oldest girls in the carpool line at the elementary school.  My three year old is usually watching a movie or playing a game on my phone.  Almost immediately, Megan starts complaining about how stupid/annoying/babyish/scary/you-name-the-adjective the movie is.  This, of course, upsets the little one and the chain reaction begins to unfold.

Today, I had had enough of this new found "bad attitude."  When Megan started her typical rant about the movie Emily was watching, I gave her a couple of warnings.  Then, I informed her that when we got home she was to go straight to her room as punishment for her disrespectful, belligerent attitude.  (O.K - I didn't say it quite that way, but I think she got my point!)  As we got home, Megan announced that for the rest of the day, she would be doing the opposite of what everyone else said to do.  Therefore, she was not getting out of the car because that was what everyone else was doing.  Eventually she did get out of the car and come into the house where the other two girls had settled with a snack in front of the T.V.  I reminded her that she was to go to her room.  She crossed her arms and flippantly replied that she would leave that room, but she was NOT going to her room.  Well, let's just skip ahead 10 minutes when, needless to say, she WAS in her room, crying.

Next, I heard her from inside her room saying loudly behind her tears, "Please see the note, please see the note."  As I walked down the hall, I found The Note:
Translation - "I did not mean it! I'm sorry!"

She had pushed it out from under her door and left it for me to find.  I was faced with a choice - ignore the note and forge ahead with my prescribed punishment or have compassion for this obviously regretful child.  Want to know what I did???  Well, I ignored it.  I'm still not sure if that makes me a strong, resilient mother who doesn't cave in to her children OR the most cold-hearted mom ever , but that's what I did.  (You can leave me a comment with your opinion below.)

After leaving her in her room for quite a while, I did tell her that I appreciated her note, but that it did not reverse her behavior from earlier in the afternoon.  After a little more lecturing, we hugged and made up (until the next time anyway).  I guess it's all just part of being the mom.  We try so hard to teach our kids to do the right thing; to behave the right way - but sometimes we are unsure ourselves what is the "right way" to behave and respond.  We just have to go with our gut and hope we don't scar the kids too badly!  I'm pretty sure Megan will not suffer any long term emotional damage from the choice I made today, and maybe - just maybe - she will think twice about her attitude the next time I pick her up from school! 

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