Failure is an option.

logic-gate-23330_1280Thinking back to the past couple of months with our son, there have been significant times when I have felt like a failure as a father.
You know what?
That is okay.
Here is why.

This, let’s call him our invention, is a human being.  A thinking, walking, talking embodiment of all that is wrong with the “drug culture” in our world.  Nothing will ever take that part of him away.  Even if he wasn’t a product of that culture via his birth mom’s need for a high, he would still be a thinking, walking, talking individual with a brain and a voice.  Do you follow me?

Unlike Edison’s Invention Factory, this invention can’t be taken back to the drawing board for a redesign.

So.  Why don’t we accept that some aspect of parenting didn’t work as intended for what ever reason, call it the failure that it was, learn from it and then move on?

Let’s break it down into steps.

  1. David did x, where x is an event that is not acceptable either by parental rule or via society rule and law.
  2. Punishment of David for doing x was z.  Where x is the event in 1 listed above and z is a punishment via parental authority that is the norm of most families in society.
  3. Punishment of David for doing x to the power of 3 where 3 is the number of times the initial x event occurred in a given period fails, because of David’s repeated attempts to accomplish x within the specified period of time.  For our purposes, a period of time in the family home is a week.  It can be a month, a year, it is arbitrary.
  4. the power of 3 is a reference to the number of times a “crime” can be committed in society before the three strikes rule applies.  In the case of the family home, the power of 3 could just as easily be the power of 6 or 9 or 10.  I use the power of 3 because it corresponds to the traditional 3 strikes rule.
  5. At this point, it is obvious that whatever event takes place in x, is not punishable by applying z.

Follow me?

Let’s apply it to a simple event.

  1. David stole a cell phone from one sibling. this is not acceptable behavior regardless of the reason.
  2. Punishment of David for stealing said cell phone was the loss of mowing privileges.  (David’s favorite thing in the world is mowing right now)
  3. David then stole a cell phone from mom.  Punishment was again the loss of mowing.
  4. David then stole a cell phone from dad. Punishment was again the loss of mowing.
    1. it should be noted that after each of these events the Sheriff was contacted, came to the house, took a report and we asked for charges to be pressed.
    2. From our sheriff, charges were never filed.
  5. None of the punishments were an issue for him.  He did throw a tantrum because he had to watch someone else mow his yard.
  6. If the answer to the above equation is more than 1, then you have failed in this event.

On the other hand.

It is much simpler to say “hey, what we tried didn’t work.  what can we or should we try next?”  The other thing that we need to remember is that works today in regards to behavior modification might not work tomorrow.   Part of succeeding as a parent, is not being a friend to your child.  You need to be a parent first, friend second.

Failure is an option.  We just have to admit to ourselves that we aren’t perfect. By doing so, we are opening ourselves up to new potential.  And that is never a bad thing.

I will be the first to admit that failure is an option.  What we have been trying isn’t working.  I am not sure what the next step is, but the Good Lord willing, we will work through this.

Indeed, most of the time when dealing with a child similar to David, logic can not apply.



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