Monday, June 9, 2014

The Laissez-Faire Parenting Manual Johnson Style

Mother's Day 2014
Sometimes it's difficult being a Johnson.

Laissez-Faire is probably the closest to our parenting method in Johnsonville. Literally defined it means "live and let live". It's really dismissed as an effective parenting style, because I think that folks don't fully understand what it means. It's setting boundaries and letting children self-fulfill in the confines of those boundaries. It begins with expectations and consequences.

Let me illustrate...

As a Johnson, you are expected to:

Pick up after yourselves. (Consequence: if you don't, I will throw your things away or sell them on Ebay.)

Put the group needs before the individual wants. (Consequence: if you don't work it out together, I will stomp in and solve it where I am the only winner. Example: no one can choose one common ice cream flavor. I buy what I want that no one else eats like coffee flavored. Hence, you are all screwed and I am pleased as punch with my own personal ice cream container. Result: next grocery store visit, everyone suddenly agrees on one flavor unanimously without a single whimper.)

Wait your turn. (If not, I will stop whatever the activity is and the person who has been cheated out of playing time/watching time will simply get the entire device uninterrupted for the rest of the day.)

Participate in everything that the church is doing, even if you don't like it. (If you don't get ready on time and with a happy face, I will not take you anywhere fun for days and weeks into the future.)

Go as a family to family events. (If you are given an option to stay or go, it's all good, but if we are going on a family thing see the previous statement.)

Being a student is your number one job. We expect your very best every single day in every single subject. (If you do your best, there's nothing to discuss. If you don't do your best, then don't expect sports, instruments, television, computer, games, outings, friends to spend the night, etc. I am the only judge of "what your best" looks like and it's arbitrary, so I'd really put some thought into What Mom Expects under this category.)

Support your siblings in sporting events that you don't play or enjoy watching. (Or you can play all of your games without us watching you.)

Don't touch other people's things without permission.(Or I will let them touch ALL of your things any time without permission, because you don't actually own anything in this house. Your father and I own it all and it's ours --we just let you borrow it.)

Share the Netflix account time. (Or your user account will be deleted immediately.)

Expect that your parental units are investigating your texts/emails/Instagram/Facebook/Twitter account like we are Angela Lansbury in a Murder She Wrote episode. (If I don't like what I find, I will print it and post the offending material all over the refrigerator for everyone to read. Second offense and you won't have those things anymore.)

The Laissez-Faire Bonuses to the Child: 

There is no bedtime. (You will however, get up and be ready to go on time every time otherwise I will help you with a bedtime, because you are clearly too irresponsible to handle this like a Big Person.)

No one nags you about chores. (But if that garbage isn't taken out on time, it will be deposited in your bed.)

You don't have to eat what we're serving in the kitchen.  (If you don't like it, cereal isn't going to kill you and you can make it yourself or go hungry. I don't care which you choose.)

You can watch and listen to just about whatever you'd like. (But if I join you, you can't change the channel or apologize for the content. I'll sit through the whole show/song with you. And then you'll have to listen to the lecture and Bible lesson that might follow with as much attention as you gave the show, or I can pull the TV out of your room or sell the IPod or phone, because they are mine.)

You have no set curfew. (It depends on who, when, where, how many, what time, and the activity. Seriously. If I say 10:00, it's 10:00. If I say midnight, it's midnight. I can change my mind as often as I'd like. That's why I get to be called Mom.)

Laissez-faire: Live and let live. :-) It's working so far.  

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