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.