Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Isn't punishment supposed to hurt?

OK, so - this morning, I'm trying to dress Kenzie, and she's in her usual feisty mood wanting to play instead of getting ready for school.

She started jumping up and down on the bed. I said, "Kenzie, don't jump on the bed."

So, instead of jumping on the bed, she throws herself backwards on the bed. "Don't push it Kenzie - if you're not allowed to jump you're also not allowed to throw yourself backwards. It's almost the same and you're old enough to know that by now."

"Ok Mama." So what does she do? She simple throws her feet out from under herself and drops on the bed. Grinning from ear to ear and watching me carefully...

M: [taking a deeeeeep breath and staying calm and speaking slowly] "Kenzie, I told you not to jump on the bed and not to throw yourself on the bed. What you just did is pushing the envelope and comes close to throwing yourself on the bed. Since you like to push your luck, you won't get any TV tonight. That is your punishment for not taking me seriously."

K: "So when do I get TV back?"

M: "I just said that it was for tonight only. But, if you continue to disobey me when I say no to something, or you push the limits of what I am telling you not to do, then I'll take some other privilege away from you. Do you understand?"

K: Yes Mama. What's a privilege?"

M: "It's what Daddy and I allow you to do. Like watching TV, or playing with toys, or playing on the computer - things you like to do for fun but aren't necessary for your well-being."

K: "I know! I know what you can take away from me! First the TV, then the computer, then..."

M: "Kenzie, you don't get to make the decision as to what is taken away. Mommy and Daddy do. You are a child, and there are some things you just don't get to choose. Mommy and Daddy will make certain decisions about your life, and what discipline we use to correct your behavior is one of those decisions."

K: "OK, Mama. So, tonight I get no TV. And if I disobey you tomorrow morning?"

M: "Then I'll probably take away your playing with your toys."

K: " Yippeeeee!"

Yes, you read that right....

M: (Laughing) "So you're happy I'll take away privileges?"

K: "Yes!"

M: "Just know that Mommy and Daddy love you and will use discipline to help you understand that you can't do whatever you want, so if you break the rules or disobey us, you will have privileges taken away. We don't want you to get older thinking you can break the law and thinking you can get away with it. You can end up in jail for doing something wrong. We want you to know that your decisions have consequences... sometimes they are good consequences, such as when you decide to eat an apple for a snack instead of potato chips. The good part is that you'll be healthier than the kids who only eat junk food. But if you make the choice to eat only junk foods, you can get fat and have lots of health problems. So, you need to make good choices for yourself."

K: "Ok Mama! And take away my privileges when I do wrong! Yippeeee!" Followed by lots of clapping and a big grin on her face...

That's not quite how it worked when I was a little girl. At least she's an enthusiastic participant.


Gina (Caleeo) said...

I am so, so fearful of what my future hold. (and laughing... I cannot believe that she reacted like that)

Mendy said...

Oh my! Smart little girl! Sounds like something Joleigh would say. I have to admit that I had to chuckle when I read this. Children are so precious!

sarah said...

This is great (I love how you explained it all to your young daughter and her response is unexpectedly delightful!)!

Alyson & Ford said...

Are kids just smarter now a days? Or is there so many ways to entertain themselves that they don't see it as a consequence? Help me before I get to that stage with AA!

Mommy to Alyzabeth

cabbagemintor said...

Kenzie is so confident in your affections that she cannot believe you are ever going to do anything unpleasant to her. I remember I was afraid of being beaten up. I never was really, but my eldest brothers got some heavy stuff. That was fear, and fear drives out love. It took us all our adult life to come to terms with it and forgive our father. It might be more fruitful to let her do some quiet things on her bed every morning before getting up, like some puzzles, lego pieces etc. to calm her mind; or sing a song or recite a poem together.