By Jennifer Texada
It is not my intention to brag when I say that I have a great kid, despite the fact that she is a teenager. She is smart, articulate confident and generally well behaved. I am genuinely proud of the young lady that she is. She did not get that way by accident. She has a parent.
I was barley 22 years old and fresh out of undergrad when she burst into my life. It was my intention from the start to make sure despite our circumstances she would not be a statistic, but a success. I did not really know what I was doing, but I did know that I wanted to give her the tools she would need to survive and thrive in this world.
I felt that in order to be a success in this world she needed to be: Confident, respectful, articulate, purposeful, creative, driven, happy, tolerant, loyal and ultimately self-disciplined. I think she is almost there.
There are three things that I can point to that I think have helped us get to where we are today.
For every action there is an equal reaction. Bad behavior has consequences are apparent and diverse. The correction began before she turned two years old. There were spankings, but not just spankings. There was grounding, and time out, and extra chores. She was corrected by Nana, and aunties, and uncles. She was corrected immediately, so that she knew that crime equals punishment. Finally we talked she always knew why she was being corrected and new how to avoid making the same mistake twice. The fact that there are consequences to bad behavior has been a consistent part of her life. My hope is that she will take that lesson with her when she walks out the door to start her adult life.
It has been established that home is a safe place to express your feelings. We talk. I try my best not to cringe or judge or condescend when she needs to talk to me about things that concern her. If she does not agree with a rule she know we can talk about it. If she does something wrong, she knows it is safe to confess. So far she has not felt the need to yell, or scream or disrespect me in efforts to express her feelings. My hope is that no matter what stage she is at in her life she will know that she is not alone, she can always call her mother. It is easier to be confident when you know you have support.
Consistency is key. The rules were put in place at least 12 years ago (she is almost 14 now). We have been following the rules every day since then. When new questions arise we create a new rule and stick to it. There is always room for discussion but it is common knowledge that in mommy’s house there are rules. Rules that were created for the safety and success of the children trying to learn how to grow into successful women.
Within it all God, and faith play a big part in our home. She has been encouraged to discover her own relationship with God and faith, and in that she is beginning to find self discipline.
I have one more daughter. I am putting her through the same program. So far, despite the fact that she is much more strong willed, than her sister was at her age, she is beginning to get with the program. Check back in about 7 years , and we will see if this all still rings true and if I really do know anything about raising a disciplined child?