June 25, 2009

One look was all I needed

Princess is absolutely driving me crazy right now. I am so frustrated that I want to give her back! (Nana…you better come for her soon). She’s not listening and what’s worse is that she’s being really purposeful in her actions, if not outwardly defiant. We had it out last night – she didn’t want to sit at the “adult” table, so we let her sit at her little table, then she only wanted to watch tv and not eat because “I don’t like that!”, so I turned off the tv and asked (read told) her to eat. Lo and behold instead of eating little missy decided to color – on our cream chaise. Yes. color! I was so angry with her when I glanced over her way and noticed what was going on that I literally jumped over my chair to get to her.

My response, however, was not comparable with my level of anger and I wonder whether I’m sending her the wrong message. As you can tell from my athletic moves, I was pretty angry. But, when our bodies actually got close to each other all I could do was give her a little, tiny, itsy-bitsy, wimpy slap on her hand and then send her to her room.

I am from Trinidad, where I grew up getting a few spankings (the real ones) that set me straight for life. I knew not to cross my mom, aunts and definitely not my grandmother. I probably “knew” that because I had experienced one or two “lickings” (as we call it), so that I knew that one look was enough to let me know that I was on a slippery slope. I think I turned out a pretty well adjusted and responsible woman and I am sure that my respect for authority helped in my molding.

Now, fast-forward thirty-something years and I know it’s not socially accepted to spank kids and I try my best not to. I can't yet say whether it's the right or wrong thing because that's another discussion. But, I understand that spanking is not the way to discipline a child and I accept that I need to explore alternate disciplinary methods. I have been trying those methods – time out, counting to three, taking away toys, reducing privileges. But, yet in my heart I feel like she needs to get that one good spanking that will make her appreciate and understand the alternative disciplinary methods better.

Yet, when I was called to the mat, I flaked. In retrospect, that opportunity yesterday was the perfect time for me to lay the law and get her to understand that my words should be more than enough. Clearly my intelligent side got the better of me and I refrained from releasing my wrath – and that, I am very proud of.

But, this morning I was again faced with resistance and it makes me so frustrated at the terrible twos/threes and disappointed in myself because I can’t seem to get a hold of this situation. I’ve got to figure it out – I need some suggestions please.

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8 comments:

Nerd Girl said...

My immediate response? Next time she needs it - spank her. I think the element of surprise is powerful - she'll be "expecting" a tap on the hand and will be shocked and awed when she gets a spanking instead. I don't spank my daughter very often (and when I do, it is three licks to her bottom) but I've noticed that since I do reserve it for her worst offenses, it seems to be more effective than those parents who are always, always spanking. I may have given her 5 spankings total, where the constant spankers are just that - constantly spanking. Just my two cents. Good luck!

Queen of Pith said...

Nerd girl is right.

When it comes down to it and nothing else is working, it is time for the spanking. I hate it too.

Just make sure you are not doing it out of frustration and you think it through.

This is a last resort and it is trial and error. Sometimes I take away toys and my eldest has to earn them back. In the case of the crayons, they may have ended up in the trash with her looking on as I threw them away.

I know with my toddler, when he is going to try something dangerous, like run out in the road, I will swat him on the rear, because "No" does not work and grabbing him by the arm is funny to him.

Peter and Nancy said...

I think if it's done well, spanking can be used for outright defiance, a very few times in a child's life. My husband's parents did spanking the right way -- sent the child to their room/time out, took time to calm down, then gave the spanking, explained why, and ended with a hug. I know that will not scar a kid for life, for pete's sake -- although it's not politically correct to say that!

Like another commenter said, though, a lot of parents just smack kids with no explanation and no other discipline methods. That's lazy parenting.

I think a good tactic for a "big" offense goes like this: you do your normal consequence (time-out or whatever), then the next ten things she wants to do are off limits. "I'm sorry sweetie. Girls who color on the furniture can't watch TV . . . have dessert . . . ride their bikes . . . wear their favorite dress . . . etc. Maybe on a day when you listen better." She won't like it, and she sure will remember it for a while.

I've also read and used a lot of stuff from a book called "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood." Lots of good ideas in there, and a philosophy about teaching kids to think for themselves about the consequences of their actions.

Good luck with your princess!
-- Nancy

Tanyetta said...

Taking notes waiting for responses to this one. I am dealing with the same thing.

Trust me if whoop this boy, I just might......well, let me stop there.

Jennifer said...

Wow, you are better than me and my entire family - both sides! My son is way too young for any of that, but when he grows older and is openly defiant, even after very stern warnings, he's getting a swat on his bottom.

I can count on one hand how many times my mom and dad spanked me. I'd get one or two good swats and it was over. Honestly, it's the fear, not the act, that kept me from misbehaving... and so, I shall pass the fear right on down to my baby. ;-)

I know there are tons of people who are anti-spanking, but I'll tell you my honest opinion: there sure are a lot more irresponsible, rude, loud-mouthed, self-centered, spoiled kids running around since the "Time Out" started. But I'm no expert...

Justice Ny said...

Thanks moms for the advice. funny that we're all kind of in agreement that a good one once in a while isn't all that bad.

Jen said...

I love what Jennifer pointed out...that since the Time Out has become so popular and "right" that there are WAY more awful kids running around talking like they think they're teenagers already and acting like queen/king of the universe.

But, that being said, I don't spank. My kids don't act like awful trolls. They ARE scared I might spank them tho I never have, because I *have* on occasion chased them to their room yelling and stomping (on purpose) really loud - it scares the bejeezus out of them. (Because normally when they do something wrong that's no big deal I don't yell, I talk to them and explain why it's bad.)

Plus, yelling and stomping REALLY gets the frustration out so it's good for my stress as well as effective.

An added bonus - they aren't scared of monsters under the bed because they know mommy can take 'em in a heartbeat.

Sapphire said...

I agree with NerdGirl. I don't like to spank, but recognize that it works for me sometimes. I'm a big believer in natural consequences, so I would have thrown out the crayons and maybe every crayon, colored pencil, marker, finger paint int he house (maybe not thrown out, but put away for a designated amount of time). Tell her how long, mark it on the calendar and don't waffle no matter what. But for outright defiance...for looking you in the face and saying, no, I won't do it. Gotz to nip that quick.

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