Did you know there are six words no parent should ever say? These six words—when put together—can almost always make a liar out of you. Want to know what these words are?

My-child-would-never-do-that.

These words will always come back to haunt any parent who ignorantly utters such nonsense. A parent should never underestimate their child’s ability to do wrong. Your child can—and will—make choices that will cause you to wonder if this child really is your own.

When this happens, the most important thing a parent can do is to allow their child to suffer the consequences of their actions. Let the chips fall where they may. Don’t rescue them. Let them fail in the safe environment of a loving family. You might even help them fail…if there’s a lesson to be learned along the way.

It was somewhere around six years ago that my husband and I found out that our high school age child had been skipping several classes on a regular basis. We waited for him to be caught, but it never happened. Mark and I agreed it was time to help him get “caught,” so I promptly called the school principal.

“Hello Mr. Principal. This is Jill Savage. Can you tell me what punishment is given to a student skipping class?” 

“Well, we take that very seriously, Mrs. Savage. Detention is given for skipping class.”

“Mr. Principal, my son has been skipping class and has not been caught. My husband and I would like to arrange that he would be caught and given the appropriate punishment.”

“I think we can arrange that, Mrs. Savage. Thank you for letting me know.”

“Your welcome, Mr. Principal.”

“Mrs. Savage, I must be honest with you. This phone call is quite rare. I receive calls almost every day from parents who want to get their kids out of trouble. I don’t know that I’ve ever received a call from a parent looking to get their kid in trouble. This is honestly quite refreshing.”

Our job as parents is to cultivate character and nurture responsibility. Protecting our kids from the consequences of their actions will increase entitlement and foster irresponsibility. It’s not easy to watch our kids suffer, but it is sometimes necessary in order for them to grow in wisdom.

Detention was served. Skipping class was squelched. And this set of parents was reminded that every child has the propensity to choose wrong.

When have you had to be the parent and let your child suffer the consequences of their actions even when it was hard? 

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