• My 12 year-old daughter went to a birthday party last night for one of her classmates. The party started pretty late on a Sunday night, so I wasn’t very “gung ho” about her going altogether. None the less, it was at a posh location and of course, all of her friends were going (which I later discovered was not true), so she realIy wanted to go. Why anyone would have a party late when they have school the next day, is beyond me? Actually, I’m pretty sure it was a lot cheaper for the hosts to have it at that time, but is it worth it when everyone is worried about having to leave early because they have work, school or other engagements to prepare for the next day? None the less, I let her go.

    Of course, she stayed out until almost 11pm, which was a lot later than what I had wanted. However, she arranged for a friend to give her a ride home and assured me that it would not affect her going to school, on time, the next day. I gave in and figured she was old enough to make her own decisions. By the time she got to bed, it was close to midnight and as expected, waking her up the next morning, at 7am, was an issue. At first she hopped up and said, “okay I’m up.” Then when I came back after five minutes, she had jumped back into bed and was sound asleep. I woke her up again as she covered her ears with the pillow and told me that she was tired, not feeling well and wanted to go back sleep. “No way!” I responded as I pulled the sheets off and demanded that she wake up and go to school on time. My husband met me in the kitchen as I was preparing their lunches and said, “She did come back rather late last night honey. Maybe we should let her sleep in?” I rolled my eyes at him and responded, “You know the rule.” He knew exactly what I meant and backed off. Luckily, he didn’t say any of this in front of our daughter because that would have been a whole other discussion.

    I can tell you that if any of my kids are reading this article, they would say that they are well aware of and are even sick of hearing this phrase, “if you play you’re going to pay.” It’s definitely something I try to work into pretty much every scenario. If they want to stay up late for a party, movie or whatever then they still have to tend to their responsibilities. Everything is possible but has consequences. They understand that they can either study hard now and reap the benefits later, with a decent paying job, or play around too much and pay later, by having to work difficult jobs with poor pay. It’s not always the case but there’s definitely a strong correlation. Either way, the discipline that they gain will pay off and always be an asset. I never use this phrase as a threat, as my kids would have you believe, but rather as a reminder that everything comes at a price. Everyone can and should play at the right place and time, as long as they tend to their responsibilities before and after. The younger your children learn this lesson, the better off they will be later on in life!