My son has a problem. For some, it might not be a real problem… but for me it is. Well, he forgets stuff. He forgets everything that is not important to him at the time. It might be important afterwards, after he has forgotten about it, but by then it’s already too late. Take his Planner, for example. He keeps forgetting to bring it home from school. His planner is important. Stuff is written in his planner. Appointments, notices from the teacher, things to sign. His homework. His spelling words. But what good does it do if he writes it all in his planner and then forgets the planner in school? I really got fed up with it. The final straw has been reached. So today I threatened him.
“You either bring home your planner today or there will be dire consequences!!!” He doesn’t seem to be impressed. “You are going to be punished if you forget!!” Still nothing. “No TV, no video games, nothing!” No reaction. “AND you are going to be GROUNDED!” Oh, finally some movement..
“I’m going to be grounded? Does that mean I won’t be able to play with my friends outside??” He’s puzzled.
“Nope, no going outside until you bring your planner home. PLUS, if you still forget the next day, I will begin to take some of your stuffies away!” Ha. This one had finally some major impact.
“MY STUFFIES?? You are going to take them away??” His lower lip is starting to tremble.
“Yep. One by one. Until you bring your planner home.”
“But… but… you are not going to take Cookie, right? RIGHT?” His voice has gotten very quiet. Like a whisper.
“Yep, Cookie too. All of them!” Now big tears are pooling in his eyes.
“Not Cookie!!!!!” He is starting to really cry, he throws himself onto the couch and burries his little face into the blanket. ”But I LOVE COOKIE! Cookie is my favourite stuffy!” I hear the muffled sobs through the pillows.
It doesn’t help. I need to stay firm. ‘Don’t get weak now, Karin!’, I remind myself. ”Then don’t leave your planner at school anymore. Bring it home. EVERY DAY. And nobody will get hurt. Seriously, you need to realize that if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, stuff is going to happen. There are going to be consequences. Consequences that you won’t like.”
“But I’ll forget for sure. And then you are going to take Cookie!” he cries.
By now I feel pretty bad. I need to find way to help him remember. No way I’m going to be able to take his stuffies away. Especially Cookie. ”Do you want me to write it on your hand?” I ask him.
“Yes please,” he sniffles.
“Here is another hint,” I say, while writing PLANNER on the back of his hand. “Whenever you are thinking about the fun stuff you are going to do as soon as school is out, remember that you won’t be able to do any of it if you forget your planner. When you’re thinking about Bugs Bunny and the Loonie Tunes you want to watch on TV this afternoon, think about how you’re not going to be watching anything if you forget your planner. Do you think that’s going to help you remember?”
“Maybe,” he says, wiping his nose on the back of his other hand.
We hug. He’s still a bit mad at me, but I think he got it this time. He’s off to school.
It’s not easy being a parent. It’s tough to be tough. But it’s something has to be done.
Today, he made it. The Planner was in his backpack when he came home this afternoon. That means, Cookie and the others are safe.