Mar 25, 2009

Kick-backs and Extortion

3/25/2009 — cori
Funny thing happened the other day...I saw a five dollar bill on Bennett's dresser. I nonchalantly asked him where he found it (because he previously informed me he was out of cash). He said, "Oh that. Gavin gave it to me." My first instincts were to dwell upon the brotherly love being bestowed between my two, fellow, male children. As I was reveling in their kind-heartedness towards one another, Gavin came into the room. I appropriately thanked him for being so sweet to his brother. How wrong I was.

All this "brotherly love" was actually a kick-back, come to find out. Gavin later explained that he wanted to play alone, but Bennett kept bugging him to play outside with him. Why Gavin would ever go outside and play sports instead of roll around the floor of his room in Gavinworld being some imaginary superhero is beyond me. So, he decided to pay him to leave him alone!!! Where in the world would my sweet, first born ever come up with such an idea?! I was so shocked with this revelation, I didn't know what to say. I was dumbfounded. So, I went and got Daddy.

It was Daddy who informed me that this type of thing has a name and that name is extortion and you are NOT allowed to use those types of "incentives" on your brother or sister - or anyone, ever, for that matter. Then we had to cover all our bases since we never traveled this road before and we never technically gave him the rules about 'paying off people to get what we want'. We decided to be very specific. The new family rule now states:

"There will never be money exchanged between siblings in this household for the following purposes: time alone, food, bribing in order to watch the movie or play the video game/board game that we want. You may also not pay your sibling to 'keep quiet' about an offense or accident that may or may not have happened. You may exchange 4 quarters for a dollar - but that is it!"

Now that the new rule is in place, Chuck further explained the whole extortion, bribery, kick-back thing and why it is wrong, bad, deceitful, harmful, ad nauseum.... I don't know why Gavin's first thought was not to just use his words to explain his desires to his sweet brother. Obviously, once you turn 10, words are scarce and saved up and used only when needed. It seemed easier to pay Bennett than talk to him. I hope this is a lesson we will never have to discuss again.

Just goes to show...whenever you think you have this parenting thing down...one of your kids throws a curve ball at you.

Mar 5, 2009

Problem Solving

3/05/2009 — cori
I heard the kids playing upstairs when suddenly, Bennett starts crying about something that happened. I figured they're old enough to handle small disturbances by themselves, they don't need me stepping in to fix every little problem.

But then Bennett starts amping up the volume on his little, whiny cry and starts making it sound more pathetic than it was just 2 seconds ago when he was upstairs. Now he's in front of me with his face twisted in (feigned) agony. When he finds just the right whiny pitch that will make his injustice seem believeable enough, he starts in:

"Mo...ooo...ooo..mmmm. We were upstairs playing Aunt, Cuz and Cousin and I got a pillow and was running at Gavin with it when he just picked up his leg and put it out at me and hit me here (while pointing to his redened knee)."

AND???.....

Seriously...is this your entire complaint? And is that even a real game you're playing? Who plays Aunt, Cuz and Cousin? And HOW do you play such a game?

Once the obvious questions were out of the way, I attempted to get Gavin's version. Often times, it would appear that the two parties of a disagreement lived on two different planets. The other kid normally gives a version of the story of such contrast, that there was no way they could have been in the same room together, much less witnessed the same event. Lucky for me, Gavin's rendition supported Bennett's pathetic accusation.

I know parents aren't supposed to take sides...but I just couldn't see this one any other way. I was like, "Bennett...so, you're telling me that if Gavin was running at you with a pillow with the intention of hitting you somewhere on your body, you would just stand there and take it and not try to defend yourself?"

"Well...no...I guess, I would." Of course that sentence makes zero sense - but I knew what he meant.

Me again: "So, here's the deal...either I handle this situation for you and it will involve never touching, wrestling or rough housing with your brother again and you can both come downstairs and do some fun chores for me....OR...you guys can try to solve this on your own."

Didn't I make that sound appealing. I was rather pleased with myself.

Suddenly, reconcilliations were made and they were back to the fun of "Aunt, Cuz and Cousin".

Another day. Another problem solved. If only all parenting issues could be this easy.

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