I didn’t sleep well last night, so I’m (extra) grouchy today and short with the kids. In response, they’re (extra) belligerent. O the joys of parenting!

A friend suggested recently that I tell Evan he would lose out on Christmas gifts if he kept being naughty. I had tried the “Only nice kids get presents” line, since Evan has decided that Santa is real – I might as well use this logic while I can. Unfortunately, Evan is also quite certain that he’ll get presents no matter what. I didn’t take this approach very far, because I couldn’t really bring myself to make Evan have such a miserable Christmas morning (my friend said to give him presents later in the day, if he was good). But something has to be done about Evan’s ongoing refusal to listen to me.

(He did have one really good day this week where he listened every time, and yesterday started out ok – but he got ornery by mid-afternoon.)

This morning we were talking about stockings and Evan told me that Santa puts toys and candy in them. I reiterated that only good kids get stuff in their stockings. And Evan still flatly refused to do what I asked him to. Now that the moment is passed, I realize I should have put him in time out, but instead I warned him that he’d have an empty stocking on Christmas if he wouldn’t listen. He threw an extra-ornery “No! That’s not what will happen!” at me and stormed off to his room.

At the moment I feel obligated to follow through on this. I’ve already bought stuff for his stocking and I know he’ll be missing out. But I’m considering offering him some chances to redeem himself between now and Christmas – starting with getting dressed this morning (the thing I asked him to do in the first place). What are your thoughts? Make him an offer, or give him an empty stocking? Or am I horrible for even considering leaving his stocking empty?