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MOMMY BLOG: TACTICAL PARENTING
Blog Posted:5/1/2013 8:35:00 PM
This is just a guess, but I’m thinking that parents have been struggling with discipline issues since two year old Cane pulled Abel’s hair.
And I’ve bought the books, tried this and that. I'm doing my best to raise a girl who understands that good behavior brings rewards, bad behavior brings consequences, and that we all make mistakes, get emotional, howl on occasion. Love is unconditonal.
For those of you who haven’t parented young children for a while here is today’s most basic guidelines for discipline
1) No spanking
2) No denial of food (no going to bed without supper)
3) No restraints or isolation
4) No elimination (or threat of illumination) of affection
5) No yelling or shouting
6) No comparing your child’s behavior to other children’s behavior
7) No belittling or calling a child bad, naughty
All the above I totally get and follow (okay, sometimes my voice gets a little loud, close to a yell. I’m human. An exhausted human.)
But here are other things that parents of this generation are told:
8) Food should never be used as a reward. Treats are activities, not sweets.
Okay, I get that in THEORY. Obviously, if we identify pleasure with food, we are more liable to face weight issues. We must learn that we can reward ourselves with walks, talks, reading, and that food is meant for nutrition. But let’s face it. Life isn’t textbook. Sometimes we DO treat ourselves, to a sundae, fresh strawberries from a farmer’s stand, even herbal tea... Even the doc gives out a lolly after shots!
9) Time outs are restricted to 1 minute per year. A three year old has a three minute time out.
So, three minutes for refusing to listen. And three minutes for screaming, defiance, tearing up the mail, refusing to stop and then breaking a toy on purpose. Ummm??? Same consequence? Anyone else see a problem with this?
10) Time outs are never to be done in a bedroom. Bedrooms are a place of calm, peace and quiet. Keep the bedroom a sanctuary..
I actually agree with this. But having a hysterical preschooler demanding to get off the living room chair (time out spot) is also getting her some attention. Though short, my girl looks like the incredible hulk when she’s in full tantrum mode. The only difference she turns red, not green. And she vomits. She gets so mad that she spews. Think Linda Blair. So though I agree with this, I gotta say that after SHE has her time out, Mommy wants one for herself! Motrin?
11) Never take away the television as a form of discipline.
Okay, here’s the real reason for this blog. Point number 11.
Today, my girl went into the “do as I say” mode, just turned off the ears and dug in her heels. Think diva on steroids.
ME: Honey, can you please clean up these blocks?
SHE: NO. YOU DO IT.
ME: I’ll help you. It will go faster with two people. It's tidy up time.
SHE: NO. I WANT TO WATCH BUBBLE GUPPIES, NOW!
ME: After we clean up, I can put on your show. First, we tidy up. And you are not speaking nicely to me. You are yelling and you are forgetting to say please.
SHE: PUT ON THE SHOW, NOW!
ME: You need to use the word, please.
SHE: I can’t.
ME: You can’t say please? I think you can say please.
My hubby and I agree. Our daughter has my temper and his pride. Poor thing! LOL. She is scowling, but her head is hanging, and the lip has a slight quiver. She is torn. Comply or resist?
SHE. No, I can’t. I really can't, Mommy.
ME: After we clean up, I will put on your show. But you will need to say please.
SHE: YOU CLEAN UP! PUT ON MY SHOW, NOW!
ME: I am only giving you one warning. If you say that again the television will be turned off for the entire day. It will not go back on till tomorrow morning.
SHE: PUT IT ON NOW!
I turn off the television and my girl FREAKS. I mean full out face on the floor melt down. Sobbing, wailing, pleading
SHE: Please, mommy. I promise, I’ll help now. I’ll say please. Please, turn the TV back on! Please please please!
ME: the television IS staying off for the whole day. This is called a consequence.
SHE: I DON’T WANT A CON-DANCE! CHANGE YOUR MIND, MOMMY! YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND!
ME: I told you what would happen and that is what has happened. I love you. It’s beautiful out. We’ll go to the park. Tomorrow, you may watch some television. And you will remember to speak to me nicer. No yelling.
My girl looks like a crack addict searching the next fix. Or her mother at 6 am desperate for that first coffee, which I guzzle.
Despite my calm approach, she is so upset that she vomits. Which of course, makes her more upset. I bury that instinct to cave, to settle her down. It is so hard. But I know, somehow, that this is a turning point. She needs to be shown that what I say, I mean.
She fumes for 30 minutes.
It takes another hour to calm her down. It is 10:30. I'm wondering if I did the right thing.
We leave for the park at 11:30 am.
We return from the park at 7 pm!
Yup, the entire day spent in the park.
Not one tantrum, snarl, power struggle, just a lovely day. Lots of exploration. We looked at ants, talked about tree roots, dug castle moats in the sandbox, played soccer and I taught her how to toss a Frisbee. We cuddled, watched birds, colored with sidewalk chalk.
And she didn’t ask for television when we got home. She KNEW my answer would be no. Why fight when the outcome will be the same?
She played in her bath, we read stories and she snuggled into me, fell fast asleep with a smile on her face and said, “It was a good day, Mommy. Thank you.”
So, as far as I can see, the don’t deny television thingie?
It all depends on the crime.
I say that the most important part of discipline is that the consequence should fit the offence, that love is always shown and that the child can trust that her parents keep their word.
And with that, I gotta say that today was an awesome day. Thank you, Verity.
I wonder what tomorrow will be like?
Lord, help me!