We have a problem with the line in our house. You know, that imaginary line that people tend to cross? Some of us, and I won't point out who, feel that the line is a moving target. I can't necessarily disagree, because I do move it as I see fit.
Some of the kids, know exactly where the line is and when they cross it and that it is bad to cross it. Those children stop immediately when they cross the line and get a horrified expression on their faces. Then, they brace themselves for the storm that is their mother when she has been pushed too far.
Occasionally, the kids know where the line is and refuse to come near it. There are different lines for different things. For example, all but one of them knows that we go to church on Sunday mornings. We do not argue about getting up and going, we do not try to schedule other things instead of church and we do not complain once we are at church. It is quite simply an expected part of our lives and that line is left alone and does not move and does not get crossed. It ends up being an occasion of solace for me and one of the few times I am saved any argument.
Most of the time, there is a lot of dancing on and around the line. I will ask someone to do a chore and it needs to be done immediately and properly. I will get some grief and joking about doing it soon, and is this really necessary. I may or may not let it go for a while (which is where movement of the line happens) and when I have had enough I get up to do it myself. The line has been crossed. Crossing of the line results in immediate completion of the chore.
"Pook" is the best dancer that we have when it comes to the line. It could be said that he Riverdances all around it and over it. He has worked hard to teach his younger brother the fine art of Riverdancing. For the most part it is all good natured. They do recognize when they go overboard and then work to "schmooze" me. On a rare occasion, I get very angry about the line. It used to result in grounding or being sent to their rooms or once in a while a swat on the behind when they were little. We are obviously at a new level now, and we are able to have conversations rather than punishment. "Pook" and I "talk" a lot.
I will always stand by my theory that children need limits. They will test them every chance they get. It is their job. However, it is the job of the moms and dads to hold those boundaries reasonably and firmly in place. While kids test the limits, they feel the safest when they know that they exist and that you love them enough to guide them and keep them within the "lines". Be their parent, not their friend. By the way, Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there, and especially "Doc". Couldn't make it without you!
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!