June 21, 2012

Crime & Punishment


Ms. Brenda, the mastermind behind Pondering with a Purpose has given us a rather interesting prompt this week....


When I first saw that word I thought, "Oh boy, can I tell you stories about punishment."  My dad, you see, was rather strict, rather overbearing, rather quick to judge, and rather heavy-handed in his punishments.  However, Brenda isn't asking for my sad story, she wants to know what I do when someone I love does wrong.

The first reaction, from the gut, usually involves a little yelling or least some grumbling.  I'm talking about minor infractions here....the kind were a little venting for me and a (mental) hand-slap for them is enough.  The biggies are tougher and take a lot more consideration and thought because you really do want the offender to learn something.

The biggest, biggie I can think of was perpetrated by our daughter when she was a senior in high school.  She had been dumped by broken up with her first boyfriend and was not handling it well at all.  It had been a bad relationship and she went into a tailspin when it ended...acting beligerantly toward us and getting involved in things she wouldn't have before.  She was seeing a counselor (at her own request) for depression.  

So, one night Tim and I were out and I called to check in on her and let her know we were on the way home.  She was out with her girlfriend that was staying over and said they were out riding around with some other  friends.  Something didn't sit right with me and I told Tim I thought she was lying.  Sure enough, not 30 minutes later, the home phone rang.  It was the state police asking us to come pick her up about a mile from the house.  She was out with her girlfriend and another friend, all right.....the boyfriend she was in counseling to get over!  The police had stopped him doing 75 mph on a residential street with a posted speed limit of 25 mph.  Our daughter was found sitting on the console of his pick-up wearing no seatbelt.  An accident at that speed would have put her through the windshield for sure.  She was a minor and was released to our custody (the ex got a huge fine...and he and the "friend" ended up dating and are still together).

We were so furious about her lying to us about who she was with and about taking chances with her life that Tim threw the book at her...and I backed him up 100%.  She was grounded for 2 months (an eternity in high school) and we took her cell phone away from her.  She was not a happy camper and pretty darn unpleasant to be around.

At the one month point, her counselor asked me to come in during one of her sessions so we could talk about some concerns.  Turns out she wanted me to release my daughter from her grounding because "it gave her too much time to think about everything."  Uh....that was kind of the point.  We didn't give in and it wasn't long after that I pulled our daughter out of the woman's care.  She encouraged our daughter to rehash everything over and over.  And over.  The school counselor agreed with us that a little bit of that at first might be good, but then there's a lot to be said for "pulling up your big girl panties and getting over it."

Do I think we were too tough?  Nope.  I still think we did the right thing and you know what?  It came up in conversation the other day when she was telling me about the behavior of a boy in the neighborhood....and she said she was glad we did what we did.  She said she hadn't liked it at the time, but it taught her a lesson and she gets that that was the point.


My Kid's Mom said...

Sounds like she learned a lesson from it.

Brenda Youngerman said...

WOW! I don't think the punishement was too excessive... and I wonder if your daughter realizes how lucky she is/was?

AND now that you started your post with punishments inflicted upon yourself you have given me the prompt for next week!!!

Thanks and thanks for pondering with me!

Chatty Crone said...

I loved to read you story. Not that the situation was so good. I went through that too. I don't miss those teenage years.

I also am sorry for your strict upbringing - from my past experiences too.

Hugs you are doing great.


Wayne W Smith said...

A very good story. Nicely written and I don't think you were too tough either.

Stacy said...

My Kid's Mom...Yes, she did, but it's taken a long time for her to admit it.

Brenda...At 19, she still has some of that bulletproof attitude teens have and while she gets that she was wrong...she doesn't really admit that she was ever in danger. And next weeks prompt? Oh noooooo!

Sandie...My girl will be 20 next month. I am NOT going to miss the teenage years.

Wayne...Thank you...on all counts. :)

Wendy S. said...

Good for you Stacy to "punish" your daughter like you did when she needed it. Sometimes a punishment is our best form of showing love, esp. to teenagers and obviously you and Tim cared enough to push in just the right way. It's hard enough being a parent...

Janice's footsteps said...

It does come full circle when they get things going in their 20's mine now says how much she respects and admires me all the time we are great friends but I have the letters where she tells me she hates me will never forgive me girls don't even need moms it was so ugly & hurtful but I stood firm and well she got it years later but it is all worth it now.

Janice's footsteps said...

I hopped over from Brenda's and now I am a new friend follower :}


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