Monday, May 26, 2008

My biggest accomplishment this past weekend was delivering some classic disciplinary actions to my kids. Can't say I am proud of my behaviour but I learned some important lessons.

I was lazing about in my room when I heard some low level squabbling. Not unusual and which I duly ignored. The squabbling continued and after a while came a few loud thumping sounds - they were the sound or one human being thumping another with malicious intent. Screaming and shouting followed.

Turns out that O was being thumped on the back by J. When I reached the crime scene, O has curled himself up into a ball, lying on his bed, J was still thumping him with all the power he could muster.

They were fighting over whether an electric fan was pulled too close or turned up too high. Of course.

I was really upset. J is a great kid but he can be a real turd sometimes. O, being the older one, gets bashed pretty regularly and lmost never fights back (J used to try to strangle him on a regular basis - red finger marks on neck and everything). So, anyhow, I gave them both a real high voltage 30-minute lecture but J wore his signature defiant look the whole time. He just couldn't accept that he was wrong.

What would super nanny or Rabbi Shumuley do? Naughty chair? Role play? I really wanted to give him a good beating and see how he likes getting thumped. But of course, this is not the thing to be done. Must not deliver corporal punishment when angry. So I waited till I have cooled down somewhat, and used my calmest possible indoor voice:

I am going to smack you now.

Smack me?
(defiant voice)

Yes. I will slap you in the face. On the count of three.

Slap me??
(quivering voice)

Yes. I want you to remember that you cannot hit my son. I want you to know that you did a very bad thing. And this has to change.

Please don't slap me.... (howling)

Ready? On the count of three.

Please don't slap me!!!!!

Ready?

er....okay...


ONE

TWO

THREE

and I slapped him on his left cheek.

The poor boy let it all out and cried and cried and cried. I felt terrible, of course, but I also felt that it needed to be done. It was only after the slapping that he apologised with any real conviction. And guess what? I got reprimanded by O of all people.


Oh com'on, there is no need to slap him like that, mummy.

Was there any need for him to thump you that hard?

But he is only seven!

Listen, this is your fault too, why do you let him hit you like that? Do you like getting thumped?

No.

So why did you let him? Explanation? Are you mental?

No.

Did you tell him to stop?

No.

Do you think it is good that he hits people?

No.

So DON"T let him hit you again! Tell him to STOP! Hold his wrists! Grab a pillow! Defend yourself you idiot!

...Okay
(barely audible voice)

After the slap, J howled and howled for about fifteen minutes. After he had calmed down, he said to me

Maybe I should just go.

Go where?

I don't know. Alaska, maybe.

Alaska?

Yes.

How are you going to get to Alaska?

I don't know.

Why do you want to go to Alaska?

If I go away, then maybe there wouldn't be so much trouble in this family
(he started weeping while I nearly bursted out laughing. Bless him)

But I will be devastated if you leave - we will all miss you so much! We love you!

I can come back to visit.

How often?

Um... maybe, once a year or something like that.

Once a year???? Is that all???

But I don't know what to do. I don't know how to be good.
(more tears)

Of course you do - you just have to tell yourself to stop doing things which are not good.

I should just go away to a very far away land.

You can go away when you become an adult, but not now. If the cops find out I let you roam the streets they will put me in prison.

Oh... sorry I forgot about that.

That's alright.

Okay, I won't go then.

Good.

Can I have a can of coke?

No.

Apple juice with water?

Yes you can.



After that, I made O write "I will never let my brother hit me again" 50 times, and J had to write "I will never hit my brother again" 100 times.

The surprising thing is, they didn't seem to mind it. J, in particular, seemed to be grateful for such a tangible way through which he can redeem himself.

2 comments:

WhiteDuskRed said...

Alaska... Funny how these thoughts manage to surface in their little minds.

Really impressed with the way you composed yourself before you gave out that slap. I would have given him a left and a right when he gave the defiant reply~ Well done!

Eh-choo mui mui. said...

Your sons are too funny. Alaska? I especially like that part about prison - "If the cops find out I let you roam the streets they will put me in prison."

"Oh ... sorry, I forgot about that."

I especially like the corporal punishment of writing phrases. Very Bart Simpson-ish.