If there was an award given to The Meanest Parent on Planet Earth, I would probably get it.
Last week, Vera was due to visit the zoo with her friends at school. However, she had been disobedient the day before, kicking up a fuss when my godmother picked her up from school. She refused to leave the school and insisted that my mother go and pick her up instead. And it didn’t stop at that. After lunch, she refused to nap at her usual time and was still awake 2 hours later. She only went down after a few spanks on the bum. Come dinner-time, she refused to eat when asked. She had her dinner late as a result, and it was only when daddy came home and asked her to eat!
She was downright uncooperative and difficult the entire day.
Because it wasn’t an isolated case, and she had given my godmother a headache a few times throughout the past two weeks, we decided that this warranted a serious punishment.
And so we took the zoo trip away from her.
That morning, when we told her and explained that because of her defiant behaviour, she would not be allowed to go to the zoo, she wailed like someone had stolen her favourite biscuits AND chocolate cake. Her face was all red and scrunched and I could feel a teeny bit of my resolve starting to shake.
Were we being too harsh?
Was her behaviour caused by something else that we are not aware of?
We reassured her of our love and were generous with our hugs. I told her plainly that it was her disobedience that led to us taking away her zoo trip. She understood, but she was inconsolable. She kept repeating “I want to go”, punctuated only by breathless sobs.
I thought daddy was going to buckle too but he stood firm.
I’m sorry, Vera. You’re not going to the zoo today.
You will learn and hopefully remember the concept of consequences.
Every bad behaviour begets a negative consequence, and since caning is no longer deemed the most ideal nor the first point of call (mainly because of your temperament and also because mummy is trying a different approach), you will learn through the hard way – by having something you desire taken away from you.
We love you. That’s the honest-to-goodness truth. It’s precisely because of this love that you have to bear with the consequence now. (Not in spite of.)
At some point, I wanted to back down and show you grace instead. But I realise that if you don’t learn this today, this scene will likely repeat in the near future, so I will only be prolonging the pain.
For all of us.
It’s funny. Even though we felt convicted that we did the best thing, I still feel a tad guilty from time to time. Even now.
Well, that day passed without much further drama. She was well-behaved over the rest of the week. It’s too early to tell if this would have a lasting effect, and I’m still thinking through what could be the possible factors leading to her misbehaviour. (I will have to save that for another post.)