/ parenting

Your bedroom light is on ... again

I’m by no means the model Dad, but I do like being a Dad and having 13 and 16 year old daughters, there’s never a shortage of challenges and laughs. One of the things I like about parenthood is the constant challenge of bending their will to MY way. Although I’ve never been a fan of spankings – the kids, not the wife ;) – I got them [often] while I was growing up, and thought it worked pretty well for me, so that’s the approach I took for the first 10 years or so. I’ve since figured out ways to be more effective without the spankings. Not surprisingly, it’s often the younger of the two who forces me to be more creative when "motivating" her. If you have more than one child, this might sound familiar.

So, I don’t think she has ever given a shit about turning the lights off when she’s not in the room. Unfortunately (for her), Esse and I are pretty big on conservation. Every time I turn around, her bedroom, bathroom, and hallway lights are on. First I would turn them out myself (that didn’t last long). Then I would make her stop whatever she was doing at the time and go turn them off. I thought this would annoy her to the point of change … nope … she didn’t even slow down. I was finding no joy in this process (understatement), things were not improving, and I was getting more and more pissed off … and it showed … which isn’t good … or effective.

So recently, I’ve employed a new approach that is both fun for me and more of an inconvenience for her. This is a common theme in my quest for obedience. For the past week, when I find a light on, I stop what I’m doing, without saying a word to anyone, and go unscrew the light bulb just enough for it to not work (above her bathroom mirror there are 4 of them). You can imagine it took her a while to figure this one out. After doing that for a day or so, I noticed I was still seeing an occasional light on. So I started removing the bulbs completely and laying them on her bed or counter. This is a bit more challenging for her since our days are pretty short this time of the year and it’s usually dark in the room. I think I’m finally starting to see change. If we need to, we’ll graduate to hiding them in various places in the room before I’m willing to ditch the idea and try something else. But I haven’t seen one unneeded light on today (first time in a long time) so maybe I’m on to something. If nothing else, at least it’s fun and I’m not being near as grouchy :D

I’m open and honest with her about the fact I am trying to find the most effective way of raising her. She knows when something isn’t working, it won’t be long before I come up with some new idea. Stay tuned for more experiments I’ve done … I have a few in the queue that have been pretty effective in the past.

Don Smith

Don Smith

Progressive. Global citizen. Seeker of balance and harmony. Patient. Intolerant of suffering, greed and exploitation. Educator. Imperfect. Forgiving. Software developer. Vulnerable. Loves people.

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