Here is my parental truth of the day: the girls are being dreadful and I don’t know what to do about it. We don’t beat, starve or lock them up. And no form of punishment we think of (in fact about the only one we can think of is no TV or no pocket money) seems to make any difference at all.
So Rupert came up with the idea of a contract. You do this and we do this kind of thing, lay it all out in black and white. Here is Olivia’s, Bea’s is basically the same.
I, Olivia Wright, agree to:
Go to bed at 8 o’clock during schooldays, having done my homework and got my clothes ready. To get up in the morning, eat some breakfast and be ready to leave at 7.15. I will not clown around in the car, either on the way there or on the way back. I will wear my seatbelt at all times. I will not be rude to Ramina, Nisar or anybody else. I will go to those activities that I have chosen, and will practise the piano. I will not make a fuss during the lesson, nor say that I do not want to play. I will not lose my temper and shout at my mother or brother or sister. I will not go out of the house without first asking permission. At no time will I act the goat. I will also do my homework and piano practice as soon as I come home from school. That includes Thursday so I don’t have any homework at the weekend.
In return, we, Mummy and Daddy, agree to:
Give you 20 dirhams pocket money every week. Take you swimming and out to lunch and dinner when possible. Buy you nice clothes. Look after you and help with your homework, and not go out more than twice a week unless it is work-related. Take you on holiday. Love you forever.
However, any breach of the above agreement and first there will be no pocket money. Then there will be no activities, no new clothes, no friends over and no nice treats whatsoever. Your birthday will be cancelled and you will not get any Christmas presents.
October 9, 2009
We all signed it and the girls proudly stuck them up on the wall. That was a week ago. As I write there is no discernible difference in their behaviour so my plan is to get a friend they don’t know to pose as a lawyer and pretend we are suing them for breach of contract. Maybe the threat of a prison sentence will encourage them? I am beginning to understand what a great invention boarding school was…..
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2009
Ha ha ha! I haven’t laughed so much for ages! Thanks for that masterpiece! X
I feel your pain! My two (9 and 7) are finally off to school for the start, yes START, of their new term tomorrow. Schools have been closed here because of swine flu. After weeks of getting on each other’s nerves (home schooling is no joke) we all sat down yesterday and I gave them the whole “Mummy is a person with feelings and a life too” lecture. They cried; they were contrite; and this morning they had another screaming row over whose Polly Pocket the pink dress belonged to. What short memories kids have!
The charm of being a grandparent is that you get to send them home when thay start fighting wth each other. It’s a grandparent’s revenge on their children!
It was ever thus, the feminine psyche develops at such a young age nowadays; with five daughters between 20 and 40, they all made the transition from angelic loving siblings, to challenging competition with each other, their mother, their peer group and the World. I can only council patience, it may seem like forever, but the interests change like the wind, other ventures and challenges will focus their inconsistency and peace shall prevail eventually. Honest.
I suppose you could get them to sign a contact – or just TELL them what to do. Handing over your parental responsibilitys to a ‘lawyer’ may not be the best route – sometimes children need boundries, not negotations.
It was a joke!
Working with children I consider it no joke as I see this all the time! Alot of the kids parents I work with are so busy wanting there children to think they are ‘cool’ and want to be there childs ‘friend’ that they dare not tell them off – I can’t tell you the time’s I’ve heard them talking about ‘negotiations’ and even yes contracts! I’m glad your was a joke. I wish I could say the same for the rest.
Don’t worry Helena, we have done the lot. Ask nicely, charts and stars, withdrawal of favorite activities, plans, verbal agreements, stern talks, shouting and yelling, even looking in the yellow pages for the number to the nearest orphanage! Everything works from a couple of minutes to a couple of days, tops. After the ranting session, we start all over again.
In the plus side, their self-confidence is abundant and I believe, if counter arguments are anything to go by, my son will become a great barrister in the not so distant future. You seem to have at least one of those ones as well (just think of the money you could be getting back to help you with that rest cure!)
Thanks Pollyanna, it is good to know we’re not alone!