Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mothering Moments: Discipline

I've decided I'm bringing back my 'Mothering Moments' posts.  Too often I find myself laughing or pulling my hair out at the things my kids do...trying to take quick mental notes of their antics & my responses.  And the mental note is not enough.  My mind fails me all too often & I want to remember & pick your brain -- what works at your house?

Today I am talking about discipline.  It must be summer, right?  I have one little guy I can't, for the life of me, figure out a consequence that is effective.  I typically like my 'punishments' to be the natural consequences of their choices.  You don't eat dinner?  You can't have dessert kind of thing.  And yes, I've sent both to bed hungry on multiple occasions.

With Scoobs though he is often all too willing to suffer the consequences rather than make the choice I would deem appropriate.  My best recent example?  Saturday morning one of his chores was unloading the dishwasher.  He doesn't typically love this job & this morning he decided to make it more 'fun' {which is usually his intent & his downfall} by putting the plastic bowls on his feet & walking them to the cabinet.  I'm sure you can see the problem with that.  I asked him to stop not once, but twice.  On the third time I informed him that if he insisted on dirtying all the dishes, then he could clean them.  I had a nice full sink of dishes that needed to be loaded & washed.  See?

He jumped at the opportunity for such a task.  While I have to admit, it was nice for me not to have to do the dishes & he did do a good job {even hand washed a bunch of pans} I'm not sure that it was effective in encouraging him to listen to me the next time he's unloading the dishwasher...or whatever the task might be.

As was proved evident when we were swimming at my mom's last week.  An hour after being told that he couldn't wrestle in the pool because someone could drown, he was doing it again.  This time dunking his older cousin & not allowing her up long enough to catch a decent breath.  While I understand his motives were not malicious, but again, fun, it's still a problem.

I had a little time to think about how I wanted this to play out since his cousin didn't rat him out until the next day.  I was at Target when I got the news of his behavior & decided I should pick him up some new swim goggles, since he broke his.  Then I called my mom to put my plan into play.

When I got home, I broke the news to Scoobs that he'd been ratted out & that he would have to call his cousin & apologize.  He thought that was painful.  Then I broke the news that if he couldn't be a listener, then we'd have to sit out next time we were invited to swim at Nana's.  Heartbreak Hotel.  Oh, then I showed him his new goggles he'd been begging me to pick up for the last month.

Fast forward two days.  Monday 5pm.  I text my mom to call me & place myself within earshot of Scoobs.  She wanted us to come swim?  Oh?  Everyone is going?  All of Scoob's favorite cousins?  Aw shucks.  We can't make it.

Just as I had hoped, he pieced together the conversation.  Don't worry...no one was really going swimming.  My mom in fact was sitting at her friend's cabin quilting...far from home!  But little Scoobs thought he was missing the party of the century.  And I couldn't have been more pleased.

First he huffed.  Then he puffed.  And then he tried to kiss some butt.

When this happens I like to be the picture of pleasant.  Kind.  Soft-spoken.  Gentle.  As he stomps, slams doors & yells that 'I'm the meanest mom EVER!' 

After a few stomps & shouts he emerged from his room with a little picture he keeps on his dresser of our family.  He has it in one of those clippy stands - he brought it to me to show me that he had put the clip right on my foot!  Not going to lie, I was struggling to keep a straight face at this point as he told me this through clenched teeth & then headed back to his room when he realized I didn't care & nope, he still wasn't going.

Then he tried kissing butt.  'Mom please!  I promise I will do whatever you say!' 'Mom!  I just really really really really wanted to try out my new goggles!'  I knew those would be the icing on the cake.

And while I make light at his antics, I will say, it was a moment for us.  A moment for me to wrap him in my arms & tell him how much I loved him.  A moment for him remember his choices & feel sorry.  A moment where he understood that sometimes life is fair & it isn't always fun.

So often in these moments I find myself thinking about my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  How many times is He wondering, 'Why won't she just listen?'  And how often then, is He there to wrap me in His love when I realize, once again, I should have made a different choice?

Makes being kind in the face of slammed doors so much easier...and actually kind of fun.

I'm so glad I get to be 'the meanest mom ever' to that little Scoobs.


Debbie said...

Nicely written. Glad I could be part of the plan!! When Scoobs comes over I will give him a great. Yes, I will spoil him!

Debbie said...

I meant to say I will give him a TREAT!!! There is said it!

Debbie said...

OOps...there I said it...okay I'm done correcting myself!

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