Last week ( two weeks after school reopened), my youngest lost her pencil case which held all the new pencils, pens etc I bought for the new school year as well as her mobile phone and gocard. She had bought a fashionable, albeit small school bag and it wasn’t big enough to carry her new laptop, her Bible ( aka Spanish dictionary ) etc. I told her to carry the laptop in her hand, the advice she ignored and as she walked back from school, her pencil case fell out. She borrowed money from her friend for the bus fare and when I came back home, she mentioned very casually ” mom, I lost my pencil case, you will need to get me a new gocard and a phone”

I was really annoyed and angry with her, because if she had listened to me and carried her laptop in her hand, her pencil case wouldn’t have fallen out. But more than anything what bothered me was the fact that, she wasn’t afraid to tell me that she lost her phone, her gocard etc. When I was growing up, if I had lost something, then I would have been so worked up to tell my mother.. I can still feel the fear and trepidations of facing my mother’s wrath.

I scolded my youngest, she apologized and told me, “I didn’t set out deliberately to lose my stuff Mom, but I am sorry. I also went to the school office and reported to the lost and found” and off she went to watch the cartoon on telly.

I was so annoyed because all those things cost a lot of money and the fact that she didn’t get worked up like I used to.. As I made my tea, I wondered if I am really  being a hopeless mom because I felt I was much more careful with my things for I really didn’t want to face my mother’s wrath.

The very next day, my son came to me to tell me that ” I am sorry mom, but I lost my lunch box  and I don’t know where and how I lost it” ( Brand new thermos lunch box)

How can you not know where you kept your lunch box?

I scolded him for being irresponsible.

I want my children to learn to be responsible, but I don’t know if I should use fear tactics to make them learn responsibilities…

4 thoughts on “Fear?

  1. I am so like you Sarah. I can never tell my own mom anything without her being sensitive and making a huge deal out of it, even petty things. Though I agree with responsibility, I don’t think using fear tactics is necessary. I agree a little fear is good especially in very big things, but instilling fear like a tyrant, not so much as it can strain your relationship with them and they won’t ever go to you for anything. Seen it, been there. But there are better ways. All in all, if they lose their things, just don’t offer to replace them and buy a new one. Let them learn the consequences that way. My dad says all the time..”if we get you something and you don’t take care of it, I won’t buy you another one. You either have to find a way to buy your own or just move on without it”. And usually he means it.

    • J1206: My child is not worried about not having a phone..It is me who wants her to have a phone, so I can contact her in case of emergency. She has a school laptop and she uses that to chat with her friends, so phone is not very important for her. I can’t let her go without gocard as we don’t live in the catchment area and she can’t walk to school..so I still have to replace her gocard..

  2. My son when he was in KG and 1st grade, he used to loose stuff such as gloves, hats etc, in winter season. Now I make it a point that he prepares his school bag/ sports gear and bring it back from snow boarding, soccer etc. I have told him to check things when he takes from home and when he is about to leave the facility.I ask him to report things lost in school or at sports facility and so he knows that he can get things back, sometimes. I get him to do this exercise, because, my husband who is a highly educated man, still forgets things most certainly, whenever he goes, because no one ever trained him, or teach him the responsibility to remember and take care of his stuff. There is no fear, and he always tell me that he cannot find somethings and he may have lost it. I replace the lost items, but if he sacrifices a part or all of weekly money, that he earns by doing chores. We spoke about that as a matter of fact and he agrees with it, because he understands, why it is important to take responsibility.

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