Ever notice how we get mad at the police officer when we are pulled over for a speeding (not that I’ve ever experienced this, but I’ve heard about it). We even think things like, “I can’t believe he’s out here standing around with his radar gun when there are homes being robbed.” Somehow we make it his fault that we got caught.
We’re mad at him. Why is that? I think it’s because we’ve driven the same roads day after day and nothing happened. The “Traffic Parent” didn’t give us a consequence. Then all of a sudden we get caught. All along I’ve driven to work exceeding the speed limit on the highway and there was no “Traffic Parent” to stop me. Then boom, he pulls me over.
I’m mad at the police officer because he’s sneaky. This time I didn’t see him. This time I didn’t get away with breaking the law. But, this isn’t it at all. I am mad at him because this time I didn’t get away with anything. The system is inconsistent. When the system is inconsistent I’m angry with the authority figure, rather than being angry at me for breaking the rules.
What if someone invented an electronic device that was hooked up to every speed limit sign and somehow connected to our speedometers? What if every time I exceeded the speed limit by one mile per hour my engine automatically turned off and I had to work my way over to the side of the road. What if our engine wouldn’t turn back on until I took out my credit card and used the CD slot in my dash board to swipe my speeding fine to the county?
If that happened every time I am speeding, I would eventually be mad at no one but myself. I would know that every time I chose to speed I was choosing a consequence.
If the system was consistent I would have no one to be angry with but myself. This works for home as well as. When a parent is inconsistent the child becomes angry at the parent. When the parenting plan is consistent the child will eventually “get it”. “It is me causing me to have to go to bed early…this happens every time, so why am I mad at mom?”