Remember when you were growing up and you said you’d never ever do to your own children the things your parents did to you? Perhaps it was a vow you made to yourself in the midst of snot and tears as you slammed the door of your room so hard that it nearly shattered the windows? Well, my sixteen-year-old self would probably punch me in the face for doing so, but here’s me admitting to you that I am swallowing my own words. Yep, now that I’m a parent myself, I actually think my parents kind of had some pretty brilliant discipline ideas up their sleeves.
Most people know that teenage girls aren’t the easiest people to have living under the same roof as….well, anyone. They’re moody, they’re dramatic, and they take the longest showers on the friggin’ planet. This was ALWAYS a huge source of contention in my house. Our water heater wasn’t the biggest, and two showers running at the same time would put the thing right over the edge. Before you knew it, you were standing under a stream of ice cold H2O waiting for hypothermia to set in.
But given that I was a self-absorbed teenager who thought the world revolved around me and only me, I took my sweet old time with the shampooing and the shaving and the washing. I truly thought nothing at all of taking a thirty minute shower. This all changed, however, the day my mom decided to prove a point by completely shutting the entire hot water supply off right after I’d totally sudsed up my hair. You see, everyone knew not to flush the toilet during shower time. The showeree would immediately be left with ICE COLD water shooting down their bodies. As she was tired of my selfishness and flushed and left the bathroom, I was left standing there with soapy bubbles running straight into my eyes while my parents laughed their butts off outside the bathroom door. I jumped completely out of the shower the second the first bout of freezing water hit my head. But you can bet your booty that I sped up my bathing activities from that point forward!
I was also a big teenage fan of storming off to my bedroom and flinging my door shut as hard as was humanly possible. My irrational adolescent reasoning told me that this forceful statement of door slamming would surely show my parents just how P’d off their “unjust” actions had made me. Little did I know, though, that my dad had evidently been there, done that. He clearly knew how much I valued the privacy of my own room, so he proceeded to remove the entire door from its rightful hinges. And I soon learned just how hard it is to slam an invisible door.
Though I take my parenting seriously, I like to fast-forward a few years in my mind and imagine acting out these certain discipline gems on my own pair of stubborn monsters. My parents may have been infuriating at times, but some of their tactics were creative and effective. I know all children are different, but there are definitely some things that I need to store away for future “lesson-teaching”.
Deuteronomy 4:19 says: (Parents), be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
So watch out, children of mine, cause I’ve got a personal book of go-to solutions to deal with your future behavior patterns. I sure as heck didn’t give them any credibility at the time that they were dished out to me, but I totally see the value in them now. Maybe my parents actually knew what they were doing after all….