I’m back from 10 days off from work and I’ll tell ya…vacations with children don’t always seem like vacations to me. Sometimes I need a vacation from my vacation.
We had a great time seeing family. My kids played with 2 soon-to-be-cousins and had a great time. The parents of said children were also great. It’s nice to meet other parents who actually supervise their children. That being said, coming home was a tad rough.
I don’t spank my kids. I was never spanked (truly.) My brother raised his 3 without spanking. But my son…he REALLY tests my boundaries. Like…a lot. My daughter has always been a rule-follower. A side-eye glance from me and she usually toed the line. But my son, God love him.
So, while on vacation I witnesses some very consistent parenting and was really jealous. I know what my faults are in parenting, but I don’t always know how to fix them. Consistency is a problem that my son capitalizes on frequently. While watching these parents in action I learned a few other things like: following through with discipline. A kid who realizes you are going to follow-through might not be tempted to act up again. Especially when they use spanking. Therefore spanking might only need to be used a few times.
Here’s why I mention spanking: because it’s something I haven’t tried yet. When we created the new house rules, one of the rules was No Hitting. My son usually doesn’t hit on purpose but somehow he hits his sister about 1x a week. He will more likely be playing, get riled up and fling something that hits you. Or he will be happily dancing with his sister, being silly, she will shake her booty at him and he will decide to tap her on the butt with a plastic wand. Only, it’s not a tap. Yes, this is what happened last night.
I heard the *snap* from 2 rooms away.
Luckily his sister didn’t cry but I. Had. Had It.
So the No Hitting consequences changed that minute. I calmly told him to go to his room. I calmly went in and talked to him about what he did. How do you think your sister feels? Does she like being hit? How does it feel to be hit? Is it nice even if it’s an accident? And so on…He admitted he didn’t know what it felt like to be hit. So I spanked him 5 times, fairly hard, with my hand. He laughed afterward and said it didn’t hurt. So I got the wand and asked him if he thought this would hurt worse. He didn’t know. So I spanked him with it and you could tell it stung. His eyes welled up (insert sound of my heart breaking).
We talked about what it was like for his sister. Everything was going along nicely then all of a sudden she gets HIT with this wand and it HURTS. Suddenly the fun vanishes. And this happens to her weekly. How must she feel? I reminded him that I always love him even when he makes poor choices. I reminded him that he is a good boy who sometimes makes poor choices. But he had to stay in his room for the night and no electronics that night or the next day.
You want to know something? His reaction to being separated from the rest of us was worse than the spanking. Very interesting. Let’s hope this helps. I just don’t know. He’s 7 and even if he seems old enough to control his actions, he clearly can’t or won’t do it. Disciplining children who don’t have the capacity to do as you ask seems silly. It’s like slapping a cat for not being a dog.
I’ll update as news unfolds.