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Fine Tuning an Attitude

Discipline doesn’t break a child’s spirit half as often as the lack of it breaks a parent’s heart.  ~Unknown


Gigi and Kyle after a bath- Heather Piper
Gigi and Kyle after an exciting bath.

Recently, Kyle has been pushing my patience.  When I ask him to practice his piano or guitar or even pick up after himself, he’s been giving a little push back.  Even in church a few weeks ago, out of nowhere, he decided he didn’t want to kneel correctly during mass.  He wanted to half kneel with his butt on the seat.  Then, during prayer, he decided to put his hands in his pockets and not fold them in a praying position.  Well, that does not fly with me, not in the slightest.  I will not stand for such blaten disrespect for God.  As we were in church, I told him about it at least twice. Then I whispered in his ear, “You’re grounded from the computer next weekend.”  He gave me a ‘What did I do’ look but he knew, and I think he thought the punishment wouldn’t stick.

As next weekend rolled around the corner, I reiterated immediately on Friday night, no computer.  Boy did he throw a fit.  He was throwing up his hands and stomped around saying, “Now what do I do?”, “What am I supposed to do now?”, and, my favorite, “Whyyyyy?”  I explained why he was grounded again for the thousandth time.  Then I got a little push back from my mom who says I’m being too hard on the kid.  Nope, I held strong on the punishment.  Come on, Kyle knows what he’s doing, he’s testing us.  He was pretty miserable on Saturday, moping around, sitting in his self pity.  When he was talking to my sister, he was sure to rat me out and lay it on thick.  But, what cracks me up, my sister, more than often than not, stands by my decisions 100%.

Then came time for him to do his workbooks, piano, guitar, and trumpet.  At that moment I saw a light bulb turn on.  He came to me and tried to make a deal, “If I would do my homework without complaining, can I play a game on the computer?”  I told him no, he was grounded from before and if he doesn’t do the work without incidence, then he was going to be grounded longer.  He was resistant but did his work.  You know, Kyle still wasn’t very happy but not miserable anymore.

Kyle Piper with straw hat Heather Piper
Kyle loved this straw hat and wore it everywhere (courtesy of Uncle Sonny)

However, two Sunday’s ago, he tried to pull this attitude on me again when I asked him what he learned in CCD class.  He argued, “Why do I have to tell you?”  I responded by saying, “I need to know if you are learning and what you’re learning, so we can talk about it.”  He resisted and then, when I gave him two minutes to muster up on information, he looked at the clock, waited for it to turn over the two minutes and then proceeded to say, “What? I’m thinking.  Why aren’t I allowed to think?” I didn’t make a big deal, I just grounded him for the remainder of the day.

This past weekend, however, was very different.  Kyle was so good and listened.  In fact, he gloated when we were leaving from CCD class and going to church that he was so good and said, “I didn’t get in trouble for once.”  I could tell his day was complete when we realized he was serving mass.  You see, he really likes serving mass, mostly because he says, “It goes so fast.”  But he does like to help father.  And I must say, every time he serves, he does it with such conviction and intention.  He doesn’t serve mass halfway, he does it to the best of his ability every time!  That’s my Kyle, he can impress me as fast as he can get grounded.


Published inCommon SenseEducation & LearningFamilyPatience

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