Where the Wild Things Are – Punishing Children (and keeping your sanity)

Where the Wild Things Are – Punishing Children (and keeping your sanity)

Boy having temper tantrumMy son runs to me in a sing-songy voice screaming “Daaad, he just hit my eye with the baaaaallll!”, clearly not injured. To which I look at him and casually say “Really?” and he runs off back to play with his brother.

A few minutes later things escalate and one boy hits the other or takes something away or

[fill in the blank].

At some point, as a parent you reach a breaking point, where the desire to grab both of their heads by the hair and slam them together becomes overwhelming and you know you need to step away. It can be even more stressful when you’re the only parent around and you are trying to take care of chores around the house that you would much rather assign to your children.

I will admit to having moments when I’d rather just let them battle it out. Hell, my siblings and I did. Many a cut, scrape or bloody nose I can attribute to my little sister and little brother. That’s just all part of being kids. Do I love them any less or regret our fights? No. They have made us stronger and who we are.

(Here come the five famous words) When I was a kid, if I didn’t watch my mouth, obey my parents or if I was (caught) beating on my brother or sister, I got a hand to the backside. That’s right, a spanking. I know, crazy huh? Even more crazy is my father was never thrown in jail for child abuse and my mother never served a day in court due to taking a brush to my behind (I guess her hand hurt to spank?).

Girl having temper tantrumAm I less a person for being spanked or being handled more physically? No, absolutely not. Did my parents ever abuse me? No, absolutely not.

Now being a parent myself, there are times that it pains me that I cannot (in today’s society) spank my children. To date, I have never given my children a spanking, but there have most definitely been times they deserved it. Not many, my kids are overall very good children, but everyone has moments that they are out of control.

I am not saying that you should be able to go out and beat your child. Beating and spanking are FAR different.

Part of the problems with today’s society is:

  • You have a group of people governing laws and methodologies that don’t even have children themselves. What gives them the right to say what is a proper way to parent or what is not?
  • People expect you to “reason” with children. And yes, when they are over the age of 7 or 8, you absolutely can most of the time reason with them. Then again, there are some 14-17 year olds who you can’t reason with at all. But you can’t be expected to have an adult conversation with a four year old who is throwing a temper tantrum, I’m sorry it’s stupid, plain and simple.

That being said, what do you do when the “Wild Thing” comes out in your child? Well, there are several well accepted and proven ways that I have found to control children:

  1. Time outs – they work wonders, especially when forced to sit on a time-out chair or time-out step.
  2. Standing in a corner – Nose to the wall, unable to move and must stand still until you are told you can get off. If the child steps away, then tell them they just earned another minute. (And keep a real timer going starting around 2-5 minutes) Yes, they will whine and cry and maybe even wipe their nose on the wall, but that’s life.
  3. Take away privileges – Grounding. Very good, but you MUST hold to your guns. If you say they can’t touch iPad for a week. Then do it, don’t cave in! Now, after the grounding has had some time to think in, there is nothing wrong with “earning” back the privilege by reading, doing chores, etc. It both gives them the ability to get their privileges back and it helps them gain responsibility.
  4. Ignore them – This is really only effective in 2-5 year olds. If they are screaming that they want your attention, turn away. You can turn back long enough to tell them that you will talk to them when they can talk to you like a big boy /girl.

My biggest piece of advice as a parent: No matter what your relationship is with your child’s other parent (Married, Divorced, etc.), Never ever contradict their punishment (as long as it is adequate). It not only disrespects and undermines them as a parent, it shows the child that they can control one of you.

What are some methods you’ve found that fit today’s day and age?

May 23rd, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

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