The first rule any new parent should learn is: Never back yourself or your child into a corner.
Never issue ultimatums. Never be non-specific about the punishment. Never be over the top on punishment. All you are doing is setting up an environment of zero-sum discipline. Someone loses ultimately; someone wins ultimately. When your child is three years old, winning all the time is easy. When they are fifteen, success is not so guaranteed.
Always leave room to resolve the conflict so that each party is able to save face.
And that is the one lesson the Republicans have not quite figured out about the DREAM Act, which allows undocumented young people a path to citizenship provided they go to college or join the military. It is a face-saving path for both sides. The undocumented children must work for citizenship and the United States solves the problem of what to do with millions of human beings they really don’t have the resources — or the will — to box up and ship to the border.
Stopping the DREAM Act from coming up for a vote shows how immature and short-sighted the Republicans really are. Perhaps they should have spent more time parenting and less time clawing their way into the Senate. They would have learned some skills along the way.