I would suck up.
That’s right. Whenever I got punished, I would feel so bad for being naughty, that I would be extra good in order to make up for the bad behaviour. I would work harder at school, I would clean my room, do the dishes, vacuum, dust, do extra chores, etc. I never stomped around like a spoiled teenager, punishing my parent for punishing me, like a normal child. I would put on my halo and be the best kid I could be.
And then my mum would be so pleased with my behaviour that she would let me off early.
The first couple of times were flukes because I actually did feel guilty for behaving poorly, so I would do what I could to make up for the wrong-doing. After I noticed a pattern, I knew that if I sucked up and cleaned the house I would get off early.
This one time when I was eighteen, I went for a motorcycle ride with a friend-soon-to-be-boyfriend that my parents didn’t know. We ended up being gone all day and no-one knew where we were. (We were at Harrison Hot Springs – it was awesome) I had been designated driver the night before, so my friend’s car was parked in the driveway and no one knew where the keys were, (they were on the top of the fridge) and no one could get a hold of me. Since I had been at my ex-boyfriend’s Halloween party the night before, my mum called him to see if he knew where I was and he was paging (this was the era of pagers, remember those?) the guy I was with and he kept ignoring his pages because he wanted to be with me and not talking to my ex/his (former) best friend. I didn’t get home until after dark, arrived on a motorcycle, and hadn’t checked in. I was in so much trouble I was grounded for a month. (what? I was wearing a helmet!)
So new boyfriend came over and hung out at the house (my parents hated him) while I cleaned and made dinner and folded dinner, etc. He couldn’t believe my tactic, but I told him it would work. I only ended up grounded for a week. Maybe it was because they didn’t like new boyfriend hanging around. (He was only twenty, but he looked like Don Draper, and they didn’t like that)
One time my sister was being a real jerk because she was grounded and I told her about my little trick. She was appalled. “Why would you do that? She’s just gonna punish you now because she wants you to be her slave.” She couldn’t believe that acting nice would get you out of being grounded early. I never once served a full sentence.
I have tried to teach this to the boys, but they’re not having it. Dewey might be a little more open to the idea, but Huey thinks its bollocks.
So in the conversation with my mum last night I told her about this and she never ever clued in that this was my tactic. She was just pleased with my behaviour. I think this is hysterical. She blamed herself for being such a softy, but to me it seemed fair; slave labour for early probation. I’m not kidding. It worked every time.