Monday, February 4, 2013

Another Cookie Anyone?

For the most part when we grew up my parents had defined disciplinarian roles.  My dad was the heavy, and my mom set the rules.  She would still punish us, but it wasn't on the same level.  The rule was you got three time outs, and on the third you got a spanking from Dad.  It was very common back then to hear, ‘wait until your father gets home.’

So I grew up in that role. 

Prior to Glenn being born, I was actually looking forward to the role.  It was something I thought I could excel at.  Anyone who knows us would have been able to clearly tell that Tammi was going to be the softy. I have talked about some of our discipline strategies in the past. (Who wants Cookies? ) We try to keep it very simple.  Let them know the rules, allow them to make choices, be consistent, provide warning prior to time outs, and lots and lots of positive reinforcement when they make good choices.

I’m not even sure when it happened.  Now that I see that it has, I wonder if it has been this way since I stopped working.  (Why do I always refer to it as stopping working, and never choosing to stay home???) Regardless of when, it has, and suddenly my wife is the heavy in the house. 

It’s not fair, I wanted to be the heavy handed authoritarian.

It’s obviously sexist to suggest that the male is always going to be the authoritarian in a relationship, but I did.  Even as I typed, I was putting the sentence together in my mind with…Something, something, something, as soft as a women. 

I think it’s because I am home with them so often.  Listen, I just don’t want to fight. I don’t have the time or energy.  I am LITERALLY sick and tired, of telling them what should otherwise be common sense.  I will warn, threaten and cajole them to behave.  Them not behaving is just as time consuming and stressful as the timeout.

“Jackson don’t touch that, Glenn please sit when you’re on the couch, Jackson get that out of your mouth, Glenn use your words, Boys if you can’t share we will put the toys away, OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, IF THE NEXT 5 MINUTES ARE QUIET, THAN EVERYONE GETS A COOKIE!”

I was just interrupted from writing for 20 minutes of ‘teachable moments.’

And now, I read that you’re not supposed to use bribery?  Then how pry tell am I supposed to be a stay at home parent.  Apparently, research conducted by the makingyourlifeharder & everyoneisjudgingyou institutes, suggest that when you bribe your kids, you’re only reinforcing the bribe.  It is well thought out study, and the conclusions do make since. ( )

For what it is worth, Tammi is shining in her role as disciplinarian.  The other morning we were both up, and Glenn was acting difficult, and generally did not want to move let alone get dressed for school.  I was on my way to my third warning when Tammi stepped in. 

“Glenn go to timeout NOW, and listen to your father when he tells you to do something!”

I am also fitting in to my role nicely.  The next morning I talked with Glenn, and told him how embarrassing it was for his mother to have stepped in yesterday.  I explained to him that I shouldn't have to fight with him, to get ready for school, and his mother stepped in because he was being disrespectful.  He apologized, and promised to try harder. 

Since then I have only had one or two more problems in the mornings.  When I do, I just remind him of his promise, and he instantly turns into a different boy.  It’s simple really, like I said….

Let them know the rules, allow them to make choices, be consistent, provide warning prior to time outs, and lots and lots of positive reinforcement when they make good choices.

…and if life was a book, then all our kids would be perfect.

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