Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Staring Contest

The trickiest part about raising kids is coming up with punishments for them that are more painful for them then they are for you. This is a challenge, because kids are creative and they can make anything painful for adults, even rewards. I'm pretty selective about what I threaten to take away from the kids because I know that most of the time, I'd rather put up with their current (rotten) behavior than experience their heightened, punishment-induced behavior.

The past two days, I've woken up to hear various combinations of children fighting. I hate this. I loathe this. Fighting is the worst alarm clock ever. I'd rather wake up to a screeching beep sound or to music that lodges an annoying song in my head for the whole day than wake up to screaming, yelling, crying, etc. Yesterday's battle royale was over a computer game. Today's was about who got to sit on the couch while watching tv. Yesterday I took away the computer. Today I took away the tv.

This is drastic, I know. This is Parenting Extreme, a level that good parents don't have to resort to, because they don't let things get out of control to the point where reactionary punishments have to be initiated. To my kids, this is one step away from child abuse. Frankly, I don't care anymore, and that's a sign that whatever retaliatory punishment they dish out, I can take. Brad, so far, is the only kid complaining, and he's taking out his anger by slamming every door in the house. Noah and Zack both popped right up and found things to do, although Noah is making the potentially fatal mistake of being in the same room as Brad.

Right now I am full of wrath and righteous indignation. The dangerous time will be later in the afternoon, or tomorrow, when Darcey is in desperate need of chilling in front of Sesame Street for an hour. That's when it's going to be hard to stick to my guns. In fact, I'm counting on Brad testing my limits on a continual basis about this - for him, this punishment is a staring contest, and he's pretty sure I'm going to blink first. We'll see who wins this battle.


rachel said...

This is where I lock Olivia in her own private space and let her use the portable DVD player to keep her happy, while still keeping the TV from the others. I do hate it when the punishment really punishes me though. Sometimes it comes out of my mouth before I think it through, and I feel obligated to follow through, even if it sucks.

Michaelbrent said...

Whenever I'm worried about whether I or my kids are going to blink first, I just remind myself: the best way to make someone blink... is to punch them in the face. Then as long as Social Services doesn't hear about it, it all comes out fine.