Parenting: Be strict once... it won't be forgotten!

Parenting: Be strict once... it won't be forgotten!

Recently I overheard my son say, "You don't know my Mom! She is really not that dumb!" A smile spread across my face as I heard those words. I could be stressed because maybe this means I am not the coolest mom on the block, but man was I happy.

Some stories of strict moms become legends. Last night I was thinking about a story that has become a legend in our family. I quickly grabbed my phone and texted my Mom to get the facts straight. The story goes like this:

My brother was about six years old and had one simple morning chore; remove the dishes from the table. One beautiful morning in southern California, my Mom was stressed with a newborn baby (not sure which baby it was). She was not in the kitchen when my eldest brother left for school. Later, when she walked into the kitchen, she saw that his chore had not been completed. My Mom calmly picked up the phone, called the school and said, "Stuart has forgotten something paramount, his morning chore! Please send him home at once to complete his work. He will be back to school in no time." 

The school was only a few blocks away, a short walk, and within minutes she could hear a small child howling with despair as he approached the house. My Mom told me last night she had a hard time keeping a straight face as he entered acting as if the world had ended. He went straight to the kitchen, removed the dishes shaking, sniffling and crying. Said, "Sorry Mom, bye" and walked back to school. Need I say more? He never forgot his chores again. 

Okay, okay this extreme story is not always a solution; the school was close, she didn't need a car to get him, it was in the 60's, etc., etc. This story became almost like an urban legend in our family. My text's home last night clarified it; it is not an urban legend but a legend. 

My point, consistency and doing what you say is hard, making a stand can be hard too, and you might be criticized by the school and worse yet by other moms; but you should not care. Wouldn't you rather hear your teen say, "Guys seriously, you don't know my Mom, she is not dumb, we can't get away with that!"

—Allison Ochs Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife