A tough approach

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 07-Sep-2017

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And the Mother of the Year Award goes to... Not me.

I am a mother of two primary school aged kids. 

There are several occasions where they are the first to tell me I am the worst mother in the world. 

In some instances I might agree but overall they are happy, healthy well-rounded kids and so far I haven’t broken them. 

I feel that my number one priority as a mother is to make myself redundant. 

So as soon as I feel they are physically and mentally able to carry out a given task safely then I hand the reins over to them and that is one less job for me.

Naturally this doesn’t always go down too well with them. 

For instance, they have been making their own packed lunch since kinder and the novelty of this has worn pretty thin over time. 

So if they don’t organise themselves in the morning they go hungry, not my problem.

This is probably frowned upon by the school but maybe not as much as the day I delivered my son in half pyjamas and half uniform, minus any shoes and underwear. 

I know I am not the only parent who is sick of sounding like a broken record in the morning. “Get up!  Have you brushed your teeth? Have you had your breakfast? Have you packed your bag?” Blah Blah Blah... it’s just white noise. 

So after trying lists, charts, rewards, consequences, punishments and everything in between I have now resorted to doing absolutely nothing. 

We leave the house at 8.30am in whatever state they are in. Needless to say my son has only gone to school half-dressed once.

In my ultimate quest for independent, confident and resilient children I have discovered that at the time of conflict my kids resent me and my husband thinks I am cruel. 

My methods may not be socially acceptable but every now and again they are quick and effective. 

For instance when I was toilet training my son he went through a very annoying phase of peeing on the floor right next to the toilet and finding it really funny. 

After the second time I gave my toddler some paper towel and watched him clean up after himself while throwing an almighty tantrum – he started using the toilet and has never looked back. 

A bit further down the track when we went through the transition of a cot to a bed – I got very frustrated and impatient with the Super Nanny technique of just putting the child quietly back to bed whenever he got up. 

So I gave him the option of sitting in the garage or staying in his bed. 

After 45 minutes of a cold, dark garage (and even I was impressed with his stubbornness to last that long) he came to his own conclusion that his nice warm bed was a much nicer option. 

My two kids are chalk and cheese and what works for one does not necessarily find success with the other. 

I still have not discovered how to parent my daughter. 

She is the feral, stubborn, spitfire who looks like an angel and has acquired the nickname The Smiling Assassin.

But she is a story for another day. – Ronél Blanchard

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