Being a parent is difficult. Being a consistent parent is even more difficult. The struggle is real to remain consistent with rules, boundaries, and consequences. I found it tough as a teacher, and I didn’t have to live with the hormone-filled teenagers. Often a student would arrive for detention looking sheepish, saying all the right remorseful things, and grinning at me as if to say, “You really aren’t going to make me serve detention, are you?” Yep, I was.
I would welcome them to the after-school happy hour and assign their cleaning assignment. You didn’t get to just sit in detention with Miss Pulliam; you had to clean or organize or do something to work off the time you wasted in my class. It was difficult because I wanted to be liked and helpful, but I was training future employees, spouses, and adults. My decisions impacted the long term—not the temporary. I must admit there were a few times they caught me on a good day without a strong resolve and they won.
Moms, your children will thrive in an atmosphere with unchanging boundaries where they know it’s a safe place to roam. Some of your rules might seem crazy or restrictive to them, but they have a purpose. Stick to your guns and you’ll eventually witness the benefits.
I looked up the idiom “stick to your guns” and loved all the explanations. The image, of course, is of a soldier maintaining his position under enemy fire even when the situation might be dangerous or hopeless. That’s like parenting! Those kiddos fire all kinds of arrows, and you might feel your resolve is hopeless amid their arguments or you’re constantly being criticized for your efforts. But don’t give in. My parents were super strict, and I wasn’t always happy with their rules. When I look back as an adult, however, I understand and appreciate their rules.
When I was fourteen, the movie “A Star is Born” was released with an R rating. I was not allowed to see R-rated movies, but it was playing at the drive-in theater and my older friend suggested we go. When I asked permission, I didn’t tell my parents the name of the movie (just a small form of deceit). Now I was not a rebel and mostly followed the rules, but I wanted to see that movie. When I arrived home that Friday night and walked in the door, there sat Momma Pulliam with the look of “your life is getting ready to be miserable.” You see, my parents understood that little puppies try to escape the safety fence, so they had detoured by the drive-in on the way home from dinner. Trust but verify is a great motto for parents.
My consequence was that I could go only to G-rated movies for three months. What made it even worse is my friend had to be home earlier than me and we didn’t get to finish the movie. Did I hope Mom would relent after a couple of weeks? Did I beg to go see other movies with my friends? Yes. I pleaded, and yes, she said no. Her rules remained consistent while I learned my boundaries did not fluctuate.
It’s difficult. I get it. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Stick to your guns; it’s so worth it. Your children will respect you for it, and someday they’ll have great stories to tell.
About Shelley Pulliam
Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media. https://www.instagram.com/shelleypulliam/