The last few weeks have been insane... and to ice the cake of crazy- the kids threw rocks through one of my car windows. As a mom, I'd like to think I have a pretty high tolerance for things. Not that I let behavior go, but I generally don't let it get to me. This was one of my biggest tests.
Last summer, this same window was broken out while I was at school. The police said it looked like it was a result of heat (over 100° that morning). Lesson learned: don't leave all of my windows rolled up when it's hot.
Somehow I didn't think this lesson would be so simple.
The reality is that cars are very expensive. This car was listed online to sell, so the last thing I wanted to do was spend more money on it. Last summer, it was over $300 to get it fixed. I'm pretty sure I was over charged, but that was the number stuck in my head. Christmas is coming up, baby on the way, house to work on... We don't have $300 to spare!
As soon as I saw the car, I told the kids to go inside and get in their time-out spots while I took a minute. I haven't ever really blown up at my kids and I knew that as angry as I was, I didn't want to overreact. It was a big deal, but not the end of the world.
The first thing I did was take away their privileges for the evening, since they had about 3 hours before bed. Everything, except books, was off limits.
The second thing I did was ask them to get their piggy banks. I counted the money out with them and explained that it would be used to help pay for the window. Somehow they would help earn the rest, but I would need to think about that more.
The next day, I wrote out a list of jobs for the kids to do to help earn the money. Nothing too hard, but nothing too easy either- it is a punishment! The list includes things like helping clean up the car, cleaning bathrooms, weeding the garden, etc.
Each job done earns them 25¢ each. They need to earn $10 before their punishment is over. The idea is for them to understand that money is earned through doing work. But we kept the amount low so that they could each visualize the numbers.
Until the $10 is earned, no allowance or rewards.
Now that I've played the mean mom for awhile, I want to point out something-- Emily is 7 and Ethan is 5. They are too young to have jobs or have enough money for such a large expense, and these jobs are going to take a few weeks to complete. Realistically, we can't expect them to earn the full amount of money or to be miserable for several weeks. That's not fair and I feel like it would be more mean than beneficial.
So, life is going on! We do 1-2 jobs a day, and the rest of the day is pretty much normal. Our last adventure was carving pumpkins. :)
What would YOU do if you were in my position? What do you think is fair for their ages?