Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Dear Friends

Of all the parenting challenges I've faced, from whopper contractions during transitional labor to dealing with a defiant teenager, there's one that remains my Achilles heel: allowing my offspring to experience the consequences of their actions. I'm not talking about the consequences of studying hard or practicing the piano every day, but more along the lines of what happened last weekend.

Seven-year-old Tristin and I stopped by a community 'KidFest' sponsored by our local hospital. When Tristin heard there was a bungee ride there, he became a boy on a mission. It's all he could talk about during the car ride to the event. However, when we got there and he saw the line for the ride rivaled that of the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, he made a beeline for the shorter line of the Bouncy House instead. My internal parenting radar was signaling 'Warning! Huge disappointment ahead!' Judging by the time and the length of the line, I knew there was a very good chance there would be no time left for the bungee thing if he didn't get in that line first. I carefully explained the situation to him, forewarning him of the possible consequence, yet he insisted on staying in line for the Bouncy House.

Sure enough, by the time we got to the bungee ride, the 'Closed' sign had just gone up. Tristin burst into tears. We sat down to talk about what happened—that he made a choice that came with a risk. He knew the risk going in, yet he chose to take it. Such is life, right?

I could have controlled the situation from the beginning, thus avoiding the tears, the disappointment, and the Ward Cleaver Talk. But what would Tristin have learned about making choices? And isn't that a huge part of our job as parents—helping our children to grow? Nevertheless, I wondered if I had done the right thing—until I watched another mom presented with her own challenge the next day at a child's birthday party.

When her 7-year-old daughter dissolved into tears after not winning a contest (meaning she didn't win a prize), guess how the mom handled it? Within minutes, she got her daughter not one but two prizes for her to choose from. I winced. What did the girl learn about life? And in that moment, I felt clear about how I handled the bungee situation. (There's nothing like witnessing other people's disasters to bring clarity!)

We so want our children to be happy, but sometimes this means they may need to endure a little bit of disappointment and crying as they navigate their way towards independence. It might not feel so good in the moment, but in due time, when we see as well as experience their growth, it's more than worth the tears.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Offering Wisdom to New Moms

From our archives -- The Best Good Deed

From our archives -- Embracing the Wonder of Children

From our archives -- Encouraging children to live their bliss

From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

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Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

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