So I try to blog on Friday mornings. I got to it late today and I am so glad that I did. An exciting thing just happened to me.
This week I am back in the Boundaries book. The chapter is entitled, “What Will Happen if I Do This?”. It talks about entitlement vs privileges, also known as the law of sowing and reaping. As I was reading through it I realized that I have brought my children up to varying degrees of belief in entitlement. While it was unintentional it still happened. So now I have a 15-year-old who just automatically assumes if she wants it she will get it. I am trying to teach them the difference between wants and needs and also the attitude in how they ask for something.
The author opens the chapter with a family scenario in which the child was given a job to do and he failed to do it, but still got the privilege. A few pages later he contrasts it with a family situation in which the child lost out on a privilege for failing to do what was required of them. So now I am examining my role as a parent. Am I making the expectations clear? Am I holding them accountable? Am I acting more like parent 1 or parent 2?
After I got out of class I had an appointment in SW Portland. While on my way to the appointment I called my daughter to find out why she had not called me to tell me she was home yet. During the course of that conversation she informed me she had left her keys at home and so had no way to get in the building. The parent I was a month ago would have canceled the appointment and driven back across town to let her in. Instead today I said, “Well the natural consequences of not having your keys is that you cannot get into the apartment. I have an appointment and cannot come back across town. Nor will I be free until I pick you up at the pool until 6 pm.” (The two reasons I could feel comfortable doing this are that: 1) it is not raining and 2) she can wait inside the building, rather than outside, for her siblings.)
Her response to this was, “What am I supposed to do?” Now I did have to walk her through some solution options, but this is because I have always solved their problems for them. I suggested she check with the apartment manager- she was not there. I suggested she could call the assistant manager and find out if he was on the property- he was. If he had not been her final option would have been to walk to the middle school where her sister is in school today and get her keys. And I didn't even feel guilty about it. How liberating it is to make them responsible for their own actions and the natural consequences of those actions!