You know how there are times when you are just casually telling some friends about something you do on the regular that you don’t know any different than to think is totally normal, but then their reaction assures you that it’s not?
That happened when we went out to dinner with the Pfannenstiehl’s (I, literally, have no idea if that’s even remotely close to how you spell their name even though we’ve been good friends with them for the last 10 years).
We were all talking about our kids when the topic of discipline came up somehow, and what things we do to punish our kids for misbehaving.
I go through a lot of phases. It’s usually the case that one of the kids does something that requires punishing and, in what I would consider a borderline fit of rage, I come up with some punishment out of nowhere that ends up “working”.
And, when I say a punishment “worked”, I mean that it actually got the child really mad and upset and emotionally devastated enough that I’m convinced they will try really hard to not do whatever behavior again that caused them to go through that sort of distress ever again.
I don’t know that I’ve ever come up with something that “good” because if it were actually that bad, it would likely be illegal or emotionally traumatizing. So, I’m sort of proud of myself for never letting it get that real.
The more recent ones involve the kids being sent outside.
If they’re misbehaving and…more often than not…aren’t listening to me about cutting it out, I tell them they both have to go outside on the deck and close the slider. This is mostly so I don’t have to listen to them anymore because, as I tell them, listening to the sound of bickering makes me sick to my stomach. Which, in all honesty, it actually does.
This worked out great until one day it was raining. Luckily, we have an awning over our front steps and a bench underneath it. So, on rainy days, the back deck punishment turned into a front steps punishment. And, it even goes down when it’s cold; Bode knows to grab a jacket on the way out because if he’s really bad, he knows he’s going to log some time out there.
The one that is working now, but I have a bad feeling I’m going to regret is one that’s only worked well on Bode so far.
It’s usually when he grabs something from Harley Love, or when he pushes her, or anything in that realm: I say something like, “Why would you do something like that? Do you realize that you’re being a bully? BERGERON’S ARE NOT BULLIES, ARE THEY? No, they’re not. So, that must mean you’re not a Bergeron.” That turns into him starting to actually realize that he did something really wrong and a lot of, “I’M NOT A BULLY!” “You were being a bully, Bode, and Bergeron’s are NOT bullies. So, if you’re going to be a bully, you can’t be a Bergeron.” “BUT, I WANT TO BE A BERGERON!”
We eventually settle down, kiss, and make up…but, I’ve effectively drilled it into his brain that being a Bergeron is a privilege. Which it’s not because no matter he does, he’s still technically a Bergeron. But, it’s working right now…and, it fires me up every time I say it.