My son has recently taken on the Dennis the Menace mentality when it comes to pressing my buttons. He has come to the trying age of 7 where talking back, screaming, and acting up wasn’t exactly expected. I assumed I had until he was at least 12 before I would have to deal with this type of extreme behavior. However, even in the midst of all of his reckless stunts and blatantly disrespectful behavior, he still believes he is entitled to the rewards in life.
Consequences of Bad Decisions
As an example, we normally get pizza every Friday when he has a good week at home and school. Pizza like with most 7 year olds is his favorite food. Its a win win for me. One I don’t have to cook and two I don’t have to hear him complain about what I’m cooking. Well after a challenging week at home he jumps in the car anticipating a drive to the pizza place to pick up his all cheese pizza. (For some odd reason, he decided he no longer likes toppings not even pepperoni.) I was delighted to bring him the news that we weren’t having pizza for dinner.
He went ballistic. He began by calling me a bad dad, mean, and a bully. Then he proceeded to say something along the lines that I was the CEO for evil incorporated. I wasn’t shocked because it was something I heard before. He says the same thing every time something doesn’t go his way. This whole scream fest took place for about 45 seconds before I finally kicked into parent mode and got the situation under control.
Change Your Decisions, Change Your Life
However, this had become a habit that I was growing tired of. My son thought he could act anyway he wanted and never would have to deal with the consequences. For some reason he thought he was omit from being punished. Maybe it’s an only kid thing but I clearly needed to address it immediately or I would be dealing with a lifetime of aggressively voiced opinions aimed directly at me. Well there is only one thing I hate worse than getting screamed at and that is the dentist office and needles and baseball and Cheez-its and white socks with black shoes. I guess there is more than one thing.
I had to teach my son about decisions and in doing so I ended up teaching myself along the way. To make the concept of consequences and rewards easy for my son to understand, I broke it down to a simplistic level. I began with an example of something that he does daily. I looked him in the eye and asked him a few simple questions to get started. I said, small child who looks just like me, do you know what a reward is? He quickly answered yes. Then I said, small child with your mother’s attitude, do you know what consequences are? He answered yes.
Then I hit him with the following scenarios:
You walk into your room and angrily pull all the covers and sheets off of your bed and throw them on the floor.
Do you deserve a reward or a consequence?
You stuff your toys down the bathroom drain after I told you not to play in the sink.
Do you deserve a consequence or a reward?
You study hard for a spelling test and get every question right.
Do you deserve a reward or a consequence?
Of course he answered he should get a reward on all of them but I could read it all over his face that he was getting the point. For the next few minutes I explained to him that life is just a long series of decisions. Every day and every moment you get to choose if you want to work towards a reward or toward consequences. To have a great life, choose the action that is going to get you to a reward.
If I don’t go to work, I don’t get paid. If I don’t bathe, I stink. If I don’t spend time with my wife, I end up alone. I challenged him to take 2 seconds and think about the effects of his actions before he took one. Since this talk every single day has got better with my son. He still makes some bad decisions but who doesn’t. The good thing is he is learning he can’t blame others for the consequences he brought upon himself.
After I had this talk with my son I nominated myself for the Father of the Year award. The final decision will be made on October 1st by yours truly as I am the only judge. I expect to win! Thank you all for your votes. But, right in the middle of my celebration, I get smacked in the face with my own words. I haven’t been making the right decisions in my own life. I was blaming others for my shortcomings. I was frustrated with my momentum. I was playing the role of the victim. Yet, everything that has happened to me was the consequences of decisions I made.
The End Results of the Right Decisions
If you want to make a drastic change in your life today, I guarantee you will start to see results as soon as you start making the right decisions. In everything that you do start by asking yourself this question: Is this helping me or hurting me? Am I working towards a reward or consequences?
So, before you sit down and watch a marathon of the Housewives of wherever, Bad Girls Club, Breaking Bad or the full seasons of Man vs Wild, make a decision if this will help you reach your dreams or make you tired the next day at work. Before you say something you shouldn’t, go somewhere you shouldn’t be or put one item over another think about the consequences. Making the life you want is as easy as making the right decisions.
If you don’t believe me, try it and be amazed by the results.