What Should The Punishment Be for This
I've been forced into learning a lot of parenting skills lately. Today I walked outside to find this. My son just turned 12 and no one warned me about the "Terrible 12's!!" I don't know what has gotten into him. I don't know if it's the divorce our family went through a year ago, or the fact that he's almost a teenager and hormones are starting to rage through his body or the fact that his Dad is dating someone with six kids; but every single day, multiple time a day, I find myself frustrated with him. I feel like he is constantly in trouble. He's frustrated and I'm frustrated.
The other day he used his birthday money to buy a paintball gun. I'm about as unfamiliar with guns as they get, so I had no idea the power of a paintball gun.
I told him, "You are not allowed to shoot it at people, (unless he's at a designated paintball range.) Don't shoot it at houses, cars, animals, anything other than a designated target."
He made a wooden target in our backyard and when I questioned him about what happens if he misses and shoots the fence he told me that the paint "easily sprays off with the hose."
Today he had a friend over and casually at lunch they mention that there is a hole in the fence from the paintball gun. I was not happy and asked to see the hole, but I was completely taken back when I found there was not just one hole, but four holes in the fence!
His excuse, "they wanted to finish their range!!" Are you kidding me?!! Did all sense of logic and consequences and responsibility go out the window for both of you?!! He then proceeded to tell me that he didn't think I would get that mad because "it's a part of the fence that not many people see!" (Hello, we don't treat our stuff like that, period.)
I'm not a yeller, but he could tell I was pretty disappointed with this one. I told him his friend had to go home and that he had to clean the whole house for the rest of the day. I also told him we'd have to find a way for him to pay off replacing the fence and when I told his friend's Mom she agreed that he would have to come over and help me with stuff to help "pay it off."
Now I'm sitting here questioning if the punishment fits the crime. I have no idea how much the section of fence will be, but even if it's just a few hundred dollars, it will take them a long time to work that amount of money off. He also asked me if he could still get the cool shoes he wants for back to school and I said yes, that's just part of your school clothes budget.
I really try as a parent, but I question what I do all the time. Maybe we all do. It's difficult navigating each stage. Should I have taken away the shoes he wants? Should I make him get rid of the paintball gun? Should I make him work it off and if so for how long?
It makes me miss those innocent days when I just put them in time-out for a few minutes and they seemed to learn their lesson.
At the end of the day, I want him to learn from this. I want to turn a corner with him so that he's not constantly in trouble, but I don't have all the answers.
I want my kids to grow up to be responsible, successful, honest, compassionate adults, and I hope this is a moment he never forgets so that he'll make a better decision next time.
In the meantime, I think I'm going to sit back and watch a movie because I've got a built-in maid for a while.
If you have any advice, please comment below.