Tuesday, March 09, 2010

On Parental Discipline

I run a tight ship here in the C-Nut household. I'm sure they're out there, but I've yet to meet a stricter parent.

First, the basics. In general, women do not discipline kids. Furthermore, wealthy people, especially the *moms*, who get married later in life, are even less disposed to *saying NO*, *spanking*, and following through on *threats*. Individual kids learn this....long before the alphabet!

Out at the park, the library, and in my social circles I see some serious brats - corrigible brats born purely of negligent parents.

But whatever. These little miscreants aren't my problem. People have different life circumstances - *dad* might be a traveling ghost, there could be health issues, e.g. I know a particularly lax *mom* who survived cancer, maybe a soft *dad* is over-reacting to his own tyrannical parentage, etc. - who am I to judge?

So I'll just talk about what I do.

As kids age, they are continually forging new territory, continually pushing boundaries. At some point early on they riddle - what happens if I DON'T do what *mom* or *dad* said? Later - what if I don't tell them the truth? What if I borrow the car without asking? Etc.

All this is completely natural - but that doesn't mean it's to be tolerated.

As my kids ramp up their *exploratory conduct*, as a responsible parent I too ramp up the punishment.

Before it was *up in your room for five minutes* - you know, the room with a color TV and 6 million toys.

But now I make them sit on the cold floor of a darkened bathroom for 20 minutes when they cross me. And I expect it one day soon to be an *hour*.

I don't permit my kids to sit next to each other when they eat - too much goofing around. And now, I often ban them completely from *talking* at the table. One usually riles the other up....mayhem invariably results in 3 seconds flat. Making individualized made-to-order meals is stressful enough for a parent - I don't need to be suffering through the ordeal amidst a screaming, teasing, fighting backdrop of starving brats.

Furthermore, I don't even allow *crying*. Some of these little buggers whine and cry their faces off - but not mine. If I hear a peep out of them that's not justified by a genuine physical incident....then I give them a physical incident to cry over!

It's absolutely amazing how much more my kids b1tch and moan to my wife than they do when I'm watching them. Essentially, it amounts to an unhealthy, *two different sets of rules*. My wife bleats what most in her position bleat, "I don't want to come home from work and have to punish..." (Except she's the same on weekends!)

I'm really big on *listening*. If I tell the Prince or the Princess to do something and they defy me....there are going to be serious consequences. I was at a park today with someone who threatened their brat with *leaving* no less than 25 times. With such a spotty record on *follow through*, would he or would he not have to be an absolute Moron to take anything his mother ever said seriously?

The two things I'm craziest about are *slamming doors* (our nephew lost a pinky horsing around with doors) and behavior in the vicinity of *cars*. I don't sometimes allow my kids to run across the parking lot as less psychotic parents might - I'm strict as $hit on this. I have a well-defined procedure on how they are supposed to act getting in, getting out, or around vehicles. Any (and there are few now) deviations are dealt with most harshly.

My kids are not to interrupt. They have to say please and thank-you or they get flicked. When Mom comes home they have to settle down and greet her with *Mom, how was your day?*.

When I tell them they have to go upstairs and put their pajamas on, or get dressed in the morning - it's not optional. I go over and set the timer for 2 minutes. And I'll also utilize the timer for *math questions* or *finishing dinner*. There'll be no dessert or no park or whatever if the timer goes off before they are done.

I could write a whole lot more here on specifics but time doesn't permit.

How's it all working out?

Well, my son is generally an angel. He's old enough (5.27 years old) to understand my unblinking authority and consequences. His willful sister on the other hand....she's still a work in progress - but she's still young (only turning 4 in June).

I'm definitely an admitted lunatic on some trivial matters. Will my kids grow to resent me for the rest of their lives? After all, I know some *hard* parents whose adult children hate their guts. That's a potential fate that will scare any loving, self-sacrificing parent to death. But I'm doing the best I can here; I'm doing what I deem best for the *long run* of their lives. Plus I also happen to think that a lot of discipline early on can be built upon and recovered from. While I don't think the opposite is true at all. Some of these running-wild kids will at least lose years of their productive lives due to the child abuse of *time-outs* and *low expectations*.

The sad thing is, and this isn't merely the delusion of an avowed autocrat, the sad thing is that children genuinely respect rules and discipline, and the enforcing adults.

(For this well-to-do enclave on the South Shore anyway, parents really need to start smacking/spanking their kids. In my experience, ALMOST NONE OF THEM DO. Can you imagine? Could our ancestors imagine such an absurdity?)


Anonymous said...

Spanking certainly works, and I attest to its success. But I think any decent child, (son or daughter) should grow to understand the love inherent in strictness as an adult. Unless of course they're personal responsibility-shunning lefties. But what precautions does one take the first instance of a time-out in a bathroom to prevent toilet paper being unrolled, or shampoo & toothpaste being exploded. Nothing but nephews for me so far, was just inquiring..
P.S. since when is the South Shore called the "Irish Riviera"? - Dunkin' Donuts made it up, I never heard that growing up.

Anonymous said...

people underestimate childhood, habits and character. It will be very very hard, if not impossible, to change habits/character at older age.

Its truly like a tree growing...if it doesn't have strong roots there is nothing it can do when it becomes older.

character (== manners/habits/"discipline") is the best gift you can give to your child.

I pray for those poor brats who don't get this opportunity.

joe c said...

As a "government" teacher of disruptive youth I have never heard one of them complain of having parents that were "too strict". And they are blaming the schools !!!!!!!!

CaptiousNut said...


To keep the toilet paper rolled, the toothpaste in the tube, my swords sheathed, my firearms unfired etc....I have a policy of keeping everything *up high*. Lofty dressers, shelves, mantles, and file cabinets are a toddler parent's ally.

I'm sure the South Shore got that moniker or rep, however well-deserved, from people making it big in Quincy and moving a couple towns over.

Wildwood, NJ, the beach town, is also known as Philadelphia's *Irish Riviera*. Though I laugh harder at another appellation - *two street with sand*.

(They don't call 2nd Street "second street"; it's "two street".)

joe c (a man who's well-acquainted with 2-Streeters),

Your students, and I don't have to tell you this, only have *biological parents* and who knows where they are OR even if they still *are*.

Paul Mitchell said...

Having only raised one crumb-cruncher, I can only say that my kid delivered the behavior that was demanded of him, from me. Certainly nothing more and nothing less. Early on in the single parent environment, I made it very clear to my boy that he was to do exactly what I told him to do when I said it. To this very day (he is 20 years old now), he STILL freezes in his tracks when I whistle at him. Hopefully the Navy won't screw up that fun for me.

Anonymous said...

People used to think it was necessary to "spank" adult members of the community, military trainees, and prisoners. In some countries they still do. In our country, it is considered sexual battery if a person over the age of 18 is "spanked", but only if over the age of 18.

For one thing, because the buttocks are so close to the genitals and so multiply linked to sexual nerve centers, striking them can trigger powerful and involuntary sexual stimulus in some people. There are numerous physiological ways in which it can be sexually abusive, but I won't list them all here. One can use the resources I've posted if they want to learn more.

Child buttock-battering vs. DISCIPLINE:

Child buttock-battering (euphemistically labeled "spanking","swatting","switching","smacking", "paddling",or other cute-sounding names) for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

I think the reason why television shows like "Supernanny" and "Dr. Phil" are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

Plain Talk About Spanking
by Jordan Riak,

The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
by Tom Johnson,

by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research with the recommended reads-visit the website of Parents and Teachers Against Violence In Education at www.nospank.net.

Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea:

American Academy of Pediatrics,
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
American Psychological Association,
Center For Effective Discipline,
Churches' Network For Non-Violence,
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
Parenting In Jesus' Footsteps,
Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Paul Mitchell said...

No way. Is that comment above FOR REAL?!?!?!

CaptiousNut said...

As for spanking being *stimulative*...

I recall that Jean Jacques Rousseau thoroughly enjoyed being spanked by one of his teachers or something. I think he said that once he showed so much *enjoyment* that the woman never dared spank him again!

I'm not a big spanker. I usually whack on the temple with two fingers.

Plus, you can spank the crap out of my daughter and she'll laugh at you. She's tough as nails.

Anonymous said...

Making it big in Quincy. Like William Rosenberg?
Thanks also for that bit of inside knowledge re: Philly. Still never been down there.
I'll take the word on the Rousseau comment, I too like Paul almost re-read that posting about sexual spanking. VERY well-informed, but almost too much so like someone that searches blogger.com everyday for spanking posts :-D