Never sure when to step in.
SO kind of lost it tonight and delivered some punishments to the skids that I thought were a little harsh. I don't usually like to step into these situations, but in this case, I do kind of feel bad for the skids.
SD10 had neglected to take out the trash last night as part of her usual chores. SO told her she needed to take it out in the morning when she left for school. She forgot, which ticked him off, and when she got home from school and was told to do it she gave him attitude. So, he told her she had to do both her and her sister's chores - a punishment I never like since it rewards the other. But still, the punishment pretty much fit the crime so not a big deal.
A little later, SD13 was asking him for help with homework and when he helped, she also gave him attitude to the effect of "I don't THAT kind of help, I need THIS kind of help", and dismissed him. I think this just pushed him over the edge into the "my kids are so ungrateful" land, and he decreed that they both were now doing their own chores and no one gets television time tonight. Again, pretty much standard.
But I guess that wasn't enough. He then asked them both to write lists of all of the things he does for them, followed by a list of all the things they do for him. I didn't hear any of this conversation, but I guess when he went to look at the lists of what they do for him, they wrote things like "go to school" and "get good grades". Apparently he insisted that these were not things they did for him - and it sounded like arguments ensued, and he ended up taking away SD10's birthday party on the weekend that she had been planning for weeks. I'm not sure what he took away from SD13, but likely something also on her list of things he does for her.
While I understand the lesson he wanted to impart with these lists, I feel like it's overboard to punish them for what they wrote, without clear understanding of what they did wrong or what they were expected to write down. I think his intention is to punish them for being ungrateful and lippy, but honestly the attitude they both displayed tonight is not really that unusual and typically just punished with a removal of simple privileges. SD10 is obviously devastated (and admittedly dumb for being a smart ass so close to such obvious punishment fodder), beyond what I personally think is appropriate.
Again though, I did not hear/see this whole conversation/argument and maybe a lot worse went on. Also, I typically take the policy that he is responsible so I am not going to "correct" his parenting or even offer advice unless he asks. I also don't want to set a precedent of participation. And yet I want SD10 to have her birthday party. BAH!
He's off at his monthly poker game with friends, so I could talk to him about it when he gets home and he's had time to relax and calm down.... but how far in should I step?