Pin It For the most part, I'm not a strict mom. I tend to be pretty lackadaisical about discipline. I'll send them to their rooms for a punishment sometimes, but then I forget I've done it. They usually come out after a few minutes and tell me "I'm ready to be good now," and I nod and smile and try to remember what on earth they are talking about. (I tried using a timer, so that when it rang I would have to remember - oh yes, Abby is sitting on her bed. But mostly it would just ring and then I'd stare at it for a while, completely flummoxed about why I'd set it in the first place.)
Luckily they're pretty well behaved kids, other than being somewhat slow to listen and a little distractable. (My husband is very quick to point out that I don't get to complain about that, because it's totally genetic). Sarah's last report card said she was "a joy to teach," but needed to stop humming during class. That pretty much says it all.
Despite my somewhat absent-minded parenting, we've managed to mostly dodge the naughty children bullet. I mean, they're normal kids - they fight and get irritable and have periodic meltdowns - but it's mostly just normal stuff. (Although when my kids are tired - hooooo boy. The tears! The drama! The inexplicable rage!)
(Man. I wonder where they get it from! Ha. Ha ha ha!)
There ARE some things I'm completely a mean mom about though.
I only let them watch a half-hour of TV a day, and only on the channels I pick. My husband and I only watch TV after they're in bed, so for a long time they had no idea what commercials were. When my husband finally convinced me to unclench a little and let them watch something on Nickelodeon (Commercials! SpongeBob! The path to irreversible brain meltage!), Abby would cry whenever there was a commercial break. "They're stopping the show AGAIN mom! I don't like this show about Moon Sand."
Of course, this means they're complete suckers - they believe everything they hear on commercials. Abby and Sarah are constantly copying down toll free numbers for toys they see on TV, and then reminding me to hurry so we can qualify for free shipping. "We're not buying that." "But it's just three easy payments Mom!"
It also means that they have no idea how to use the remote. To them it's a magical stick that unleashes the power of the TV, but ONLY FOR MOM. Sarah's tried to figure it out a few times on the sly, but she never gets anywhere because she doesn't know the secret - you have to press the satellite button first or you're totally hosed.
In the car we mostly listen to the IPOD. When I lost it for a few weeks we had to listen to the radio. They had no idea what was going on. They'd hear a song and ask me to play it again.
Me: "I can't, it's the radio."
Abby: "Put on Nobody's Perfect!"
Me: "I can't. We just have to listen to whatever is on."
Them: (generally perplexed expressions)
I gave them a rambling and perhaps somewhat technically inaccurate explanation about the concept of radio - there's a guy sitting in a room somewhere who chooses what we get to listen to, then sends magic space waves out through the air until the song eventually arrives in our car - but all that did was freak them out a little.
We don't have video games either - I'm not morally opposed or anything, I just figure we have enough ways to waste time already. When Sarah went over to a friend's house a few months ago, the friend didn't understand how this could possibly be true. You would've thought she'd said she was an orphan. The friend bought her a Webkinz for her birthday with a note that said, "I hope your parents will let you use this. Tell them to call my mom and she will talk to them." (Because those Amish, they don't like Webkinz.)
I'm never going to win any awards for parenting - I'm a terrible cook, a very marginal housekeeper, and I get entirely too distracted.
Sarah: "Mom. Listen to me."
Me, staring off into space thinking about ponies: "Yeah."
Sarah: "Do I have to practice the piano? Or can I go play?"
Me: "Sure honey."
Me (two minutes later, noticing she's outside): "Hey - what are you doing? Get in here and practice the piano."
So it's nice to feel like there is SOMETHING I'm doing rightish, even though I fully recognize there is nothing particularly magical about the half-hour limit we've set. Back when I had a 3 year old, 2 year old and an infant, PBS Kids was on constantly, and nobody was scarred for life, not even a little bit.
Anyway, I'm curious about what your TV/video game rules are? Where do you draw your lines?