It seems a pivotal, life changing moment when you figure out the “motivation” that will make your kids listen. The Teenager is mostly well-formed by now, but when she does get snarky or forgets herself I pull out my perfectly formed threat and she tightens up quickly.
“If you don’t (insert offense here) I will call Shaker Dance Academy and sign up for the adult hip hop class. I will insist on choreographing a dance that you and I will perform together at the end of year recital.” The behavior is miraculously transformed, as she visualizes the fallout. Of course there is always the I can take your phone away “motivation”, works like a charm every time.
The Associate is quite different. She is competitive and a ferocious negotiator. She plays soccer and does Karate and still finds time to kick me in the shin. I know she can behave, her teachers think she is delightful.
The Ah ha moment hit the other day as I observed Karate, and the class began to learn the basic rules of tournament scoring. The teacher said something like this. “The only time you are allowed to make contact with your opponent during a tournament fight is if you are blocking a punch or kick.” Wait, WHAT? The teacher continued “If you cannot control yourself and you hit someone while sparring it is a point for your opponent.”
“Oh this is good!” I thought to myself. I pretty much checked out at this point planning my next move. I practically skipped out of Karate. The very next time she kicked me, I very calmly said,
“Point for me.”