Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Excuses? There Are No Excuses

I've heard it all, and just when I thought I'd heard it all, I heard more.  Excuse after excuse after excuse. 

"We had basketball practice until late, so he didn't get his homework done."

"When she came in from playing outside, Janie was coughing so hard she couldn't get her nightly reading in."

"Everyone else was picking on Sam, so why are you calling me about my child?"

And my very favorite to date...

"His father and I are going through a divorce, that's why he stabbed Johnny with his pencil.  I don't understand why you can't be sympathetic to him."

Although I can understand why these excuses could make a situation more difficult, it doesn't excuse the task or behavior that should have been presented.  Yes, basketball, baseball, cheerleading, dance, pom, football, swimming, or whatever afterschool activity a child could be involved in is time consuming.  However, those afterschool activities probably don't consume the entire time outside of school.  If time were managed better the task could have been completed.  Why tack on the excuse?  Allowing your child to be honest about why or why not an assignment or duty was completed is an important life skill.

As for behavior, I don't accept excuses here either.  Divorce, poverty, homelessness, lack of sleep.  Not a one did I take.  It sounds heartless, but it's not.  You can still be sympathetic, and not accept a poor behavior.  Your child stabbed someone else, so you want me to coddle them and tell them it's okay because his circumstances at home are less than desirable?  OR, because your child chose to participate in bullying, I should let him off the hook since he was participating in a group?  It's all about choices.  Your child CHOSE to do wrong.  Therefore, I imposed consequences fitting for the actions.  No excuses.  Wrong is wrong, and right is right.

We really do a disservice to our kids when we make excuses for them.  Your child should know when they do wrong, it brings about consequences.  My motto for behavior has always been, "When you do wrong, it feels wrong.  When you do good, it feels good."  No excuses.  I don't care what led you to do wrong, you still did it. 

Well, this hit me in the face the other day and hard!  Little Man was on an hour crying/whining spree after Steven had returned home for work. I was just getting ready to pull Steven aside and say, "You're being a little hard on him.  He didn't nap today."  Whoa! All the excuses above flew through my head.  It's easy as an outsider to see when an excuse is made, but pretty difficult when it comes to recognizing your own.  Thankfully, I stopped myself and let Steven impose his consequences on Little Man and backed up his decision.

Immediately after Steven disciplined Little Man and brought him back to where the family was, his attitude had changed.  If I had stepped in with my excuse for him, Little Man would have not only continued his behavior, but he would have received recognition that it was okay to behave in that manner because he was tired.  Excuses can really bite you in the butt.  It's time to stop making them, and start holding our kids to a high level of responsibility and character.  After all, we want them to be able to stand firmly on their own two feet once they leave our nests, don't we?

Getting off my soap box now.  Over and out


Jesse {GoodGirlGoneGlad} said...

It is SO hard not to want to step in when in that position. I think it is our protective mommy mode. However you are so right. Over the last several years I was blessed with a group of friends whom are christian ladies and really advocate husbands as the head of the household. It has been such a blessing for me because I was NOT raised in that type of household (not to say we have had that problem) but to have that type of support system is so great. We have to trust in our husbands that they have our children's best interests at heart also. Great post girl! =)

Rosina said...

I love this post. I remember in the first years of teaching and a parent would ask me if I had kids(which I didn't at that time), like this why I don't understand their situation. ETC, ETC. Now that I do have kids, I am glad I was a teacher before. It gave a few lessons in parenting that I would have never learned otherwise. As a teacher we see it all, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Alice said...

I got a lot of crap the other day from some friends when I was talking about grounding my 10 year old on facebook. I grounded him because he had a few papers with F's and D's!! I didn't care that his overall grades are A's and B's, don't get me wrong that's great. But there is NO reason why he had low grades on paperwork. I contacted both of his teachers and we discussed what was going on and what they suggested should be done. I didn't make any excuses for his behavior. He tries to be the class clown, etc. So that is another reason why he was grounded and why I made him redo every paper he had a bad grade on. He isn't even getting extra credit for it, but I know and he knows that he can do the work! I try hard to NOT make excuses for them. And I try my hardest to give them "appropriate" consequences for their actions.
Off my soap box now...lol!