I'm tucking my daughter into bed. I hear a click under her pillow.
Do you have your DS?
I reach under her pillow and pull out the DS.
Because you lied to me, this is going away till tomorrow.
This is one of those parenting reflexes that usually escalates kids on the spectrum. And it does.
She yells, But if I'd told you, you would have taken it away anyway because it's bedtime!
Maybe. But I probably would have said, "Thank you for telling me the truth. You can play for 5 more minutes."
much screaming for second chances (which I might be tempted to
offer, had she not been screaming), she resorts to logic:
If you saw a homeless person crying on the street, how would you feel?
I'd feel sad for them.
So why don't you feel bad that you made me cry?
I do feel it when you're sad.
Okay, and did your parents ever make you cry?
And didn't you tell yourself, "I'm never going to do that to my child?"
(Really? For a kid who supposedly has difficulty putting herself in other's shoes, she's quite good at psychology.)
So I try again to explain the difficult concept of "consequences": Yes, my parents sometimes made me cry by saying things they shouldn't have, and I
try not to do that to you. But there are other times when they did
the right thing by teaching me right from wrong even though it made me sad. It's like when a police officer
makes me pay a ticket for speeding. The ticket makes me sad, but it
helps me remember not to go so fast next time.
Who cares about a ticket? You have lots of money left.
This from a kid who thinks an armload of pennies makes her a millionaire.
well, I do have some money in the bank, but I use most of it to keep our house warm, and our car running so I can take you to swimming, and the fridge full of food you like, and I pay for your brother's school and braces and your clothes and haircuts. There's almost nothing left for the things I want, and if I get a ticket, there's even less.
She sneers, Wow, you sure buy a lot of boring stuff...
I look away for a second, and when I look back, her eyes are full of tears. You'd do all that for me?
She throws her arms around me. I snuggle in beside her. Minutes later, she's asleep.