Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Parenting Truth #74: Punishment

My parents used to say when they spanked my behind, "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you," which always felt like bullshit when my ass was feeling the sting. In retrospect, I understand the sentiment even if I don't agree with the approach. I've decided that I'd rather not feel conflicted on that front and can avoid the dilemma of feeling bad about spanking by not doing it. I empathize with the situation for my parents though as they were raised in an environment where the idea of not spanking was unheard of and would have been considered a sure-fire way to ruin a child.

I never expected the words would hold true for other forms of punishment, though. I admit, I feel the heart strings tugged when I take away a favored toy or cancel an anticipated activity due to behavioral issues. I know I have to discipline at times, but I abhor bringing tears to those little faces. I have also learned that the holy grail of threats and punishments for a preschooler revolve around the giant screen hanging on the wall. "That's it you just lost TV for a day," I'll hear myself say and immediately regret or I'll cringe when I hear Vv threaten, "If you don't stop pushing your brother there will be no TV for 3 days."

It's not that we watch an abundance of TV, we go days without watching it and try to keep it below 60-90 minutes total at the most, but the boob tube is certainly handy when you need to get something done or need a little breather from the little ones. So as I pull the plug on the television, I can feel myself wanting to say "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you."

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