Thursday, May 5, 2011

The art of punishment...

Everyone wants well behaved children, who listen, never disrespect you, always answers when you call, keeps their room clean, and are just a joy to be around.

If you are looking for that, might I suggest one of these. A look alike life baby doll :)

For the rest of us that have been blessed with children that will push their limits at every chance they get, will walk off stomping while you are talking to them, will embarrass you, pinch their siblings and throw their toys, just to drive you insane, there is punishment.

Before I had kids I said I was never going to spank, I was never going to scream, loose my temper, or threaten them with authority figures. Before I had kids, I had visions of walking down the aisles of a store, with well groomed, well behaved children, getting praises left and right from everyone that crossed our paths. I was committed to being a good mom of wonderfully well behaved children, and I was going to get that. My children screaming and throwing a fit in the middle of the store and everyone judging me?? I don't think so. Before I had kids, I was the best mother around.

Well life happened, my sweet cuddly babies who were extremely easy going, turned into little monsters with sass and attitude. The tantrums started and with every new phase of development arrived a new set of issues. They learned how to walk?? Great but that means they learned how to touch things they weren't allowed.
They learned how to talk?? Yes they learned how to say "I love you" and make me melt but they also learned the dreaded "No" and that was accompanied by a little wiggly finger saying "No no no" and so forth.

Punishment had to happen. I tried everything, the husband and I spent hours watching reruns of super nanny. Time outs, getting down to their level, following thru with a punishment, calm stable voice, praises for good behavior, time out chairs. Oh God I could regurgitate all of it in my sleep.
Some of it worked, some only served as entertainment for the kids.

I dont like to say my son is smart. I don't think smart is the word I am looking for and it doesn't fit him. No he doesn't know composers or the capital of Thailand at 4 yrs. old. So the word I am looking for is more like useful and adaptable. Let me explain..
we send him to his room as punishment, after throwing a fit he is quiet, we go check on him and he is entertaining himself with the hangers. So the next time we send him to his room, we have removed the hangers, and what has he done?? He removed the knob from his dresser and was playing with it.

Clearly this punishment wasn't working, so we decided to keep him close to us. His new time out spot was sitting in the kitchen with absolutely nothing around. For a while this works, its a new place, he cant move, there is nothing around. Then he adapts, and finds some lint in his pocket and makes a game of the lint being little policeman and the lines on the tile, are their roads, and before long, he is so engrossed in his game, he is laughing and having fun. Once again he has outsmarted us.

So we started trying to get creative and taking things away. It only works for a while before he decides a toy he hasn't see in a while is more important than his shinny new motorcycle that mommy confiscated.

At the end, we resorted to butt spanking. I hate it. I got spanked as a child and promised I would never do that to my children, well I also didn't believe I would have children that doesn't listen, and besides I survived and I am respectful of my elders, and have somewhat good manners. I guess its a trade off. I might scar my child for life but at least he will be respectful and a good member of society and I am sure when he has kids, he will forgive me. So for extremely serious offenses, he gets a shoe to the bum. I am very careful and make sure I only hit the fat part of his butt. Not his back or anything else.

People say you shouldn't punish your child when you are angry. Uh when are you supposed to do?? When you are calm, having a great time and feeling festive??

Many books are against spanking, many books are urging moms not to spank and to just talk, redirect, and use other forms of punishment. That spanking is not necessary and therefore extremely damaging to a child's psych.

Growing up in a country where your parents, neighbors and anyone else had explicit right to swat you in your bum when you were misbehaving,surrounded by old ladies who loved to pinch, who no one ever thought to call the police, because someone was being disciplined, who kneeling in rice for a while is a completely normal and acceptable form of punishment, I have had extremely conflicting ideas on this.

Dont get me wrong, I love the USA. I really do. It has given me many opportunities that otherwise I wouldn't have had it, but to say that its perfect?? Far from it. And I mean which country is??
Brasil is so wrong in so many areas, and because it is my homeland, I will pass even harsher judgment from it, because I expect better of it, just like I expect better from my children and I am more easy going on my friends children.

So anyways, Brazil vs USA, we have it better on this issue. Our children back home are more family oriented, more respectful of their elders, and so forth.

I truly think it has to do with the mentality of it takes a village to raise a children. Everyone knows everyone, its impossible to live in Brasil and not get to know your neighbors. Sometimes a bit much, and there is an understanding that if the parents is not noticing it their child act up, you are more than welcome to step in and correct it, because at the end of the day, you want whats best for that child.

So after wrestling for so long with completely different opinions on the subject, I have had to draw my own conclusion and what I deem acceptable for my children.
Everyone in my family and my close friends know they can punish my kids without a problem. I didn't see it?? You are another adult, if you are close to me, is because we have similar believes, therefore, go ahead, punish them.

I think its cruel and unusual punishment to have them kneel in rice (so far though,,,that might change if the offenses starts to escalate).

I dont want to be my child's friend. I want to be their mother. I want to be a mother that they can come and talk to at any time, regardless of the topic, I want an open line of communication, but at the end of the day, I want them to see me as their mother. A mother who cares, who listens, but who they respect and love the same. I am not here to be their friend like so many others I see.

To find the right punishment is almost impossible. I mean getting creative, doing different things and stuff will have an impact, but a punishment that doesnt hurt the mother (sometimes more than it hurts the child)?? Absolutely impossible.

I hate spanking my child, I hate seeing a wonderful toy that I know they will love it but cant buy it because I told them they weren't going to get anything until their behavior improved, I hate being at home and not taking them to that zoo I promised because they were horrible at school. I hate it with a passion. Its a necessary evil. I would hate even more for them to grow up and have so little respect for our elders that God forbid he will push one down the stairs, or think its okay to set a homeless person on fire, or stomp on a classmates head. So therefore I continue on punishing and molding them to be wonderful members of society. BUt to say I like it?? Nope. Its the hardest part of this job.

Love A


sanctimomious said...

My MIL has one of those reborn dolls. She had it made in the likeness of BIL and dresses it in his clothes and treats it like an actual baby. Its terrifying.

But, they dont need diaper changes, which is nice.....

Ally said...

That is so creepy. I have no I would actually be scared of one in the house.