…when I went into her room and discovered she had used scissors to cut a hole in her window screen, large enough to put her hand through and touch the roof. Of course, it’s never an isolated incident—Wesley had cut up the dust cover on a library book so that he could see the picture it had covered, Piper had gotten out my Russian nesting dolls and then stepped on one—the destruction seems ongoing. And I was So. Mad. At. Kyla. Had she been there, the following would have happened to her:
- a thorough and vindictive lecture.
- taking away all scissors in the entire house and hiding them in my one safe spot (inconvenient to me, but this is the one I have done).
- taking everything out of Kyla’s room except her bed, blanket, pillow and clothes, with no plan on how she could earn them back.
- take her to Home Depot and have her buy a new screen with all her money and withhold her allowance ($1/week) for a year until it was paid off.
- put myself in a long time out in a separate city and not parent for many months.
But as mentioned before, Kyla was at school—her last day—and I had to cool my heels for a few hours. I had to go clean something.
I went out to our street with the blower and broom and cleaned our end of the street and a vacationing neighbor’s driveway. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned (with Piper and Wesley’s help, because heaven forbid would they let me be when they have 3 other adults to be with) and thought and stewed and fumed. And I finally came up with a consequence that was practical, cost-efficient, timely, and hopefully, educational.
Dwayne bought “screen by the foot” at the hardware store when he went, and I threaded a needle, and after lunch, I taught Kyla how to sew and she repaired the screen. It took her some time, and she couldn’t use big stitches, and I received a sincere apology. And she will have a patched screen for the rest of her childhood to remind her of impulsive actions and consequences.
I think all my children will do well to be out of my reach for two hours upon committing (or have been discovered to commit) a particularly destructive crime.