Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sighing and Sassiness and "Swats," Oh My!

I've got a cheeky 7 year old girl that resides in my home and constantly tries my patience. Although she is very naive in comparison to her peers, she already has the mouth and the attitude of a teenager. Oy vey! And I'm painfully aware that it's MY fault.

I would consider myself the "heavy" in my household... you know, the "bad cop" in the "good cop/ bad cop" scenario. Don't get me wrong, though. Chuck means business and does discipline the girls, but I am the parent that Jamie says she's "scared of." Why? Because I'm the one handing out the corporal punishment 99.9% of the time, that's why. Yeah. Fun times.

Don't start reprimanding me for spanking my children, please. "To spank or not to spank" is not up for discussion, thankyouverymuch. ;) I've got no problem with any parent spanking a child's bottom when said child needs to be brought back into the fold of little people who know how to act appropriately. And say what you want about how awful it is that my child is afraid of me. It is my personal opinion that young people in general should be a lot MORE fearful of their parents... but those arguments aren't what's on the table today.What IS on the table is my inability to hand out those "swats" appropriately and effectively. Lemmee explain...

Like any mother who loves her children, I would rather do anything but hurt them. And because I am "the heavy," it gets really old being the enforcer all the time. Unfortunately, this leads to a lot more "talk" and a lot less "action," if ya know what I mean. Well, this momma is tired of talking. Wouldn't it be wonderful if your kids did things the first time without having to be hounded and sans whining? Yeah. I could go for some of that, myself.

My downfall is that I've been trying too hard to keep from spanking. That sounds a little strange, doesn't it? In an effort to keep from paddling my child's rear end, I exhaust myself with words, which leads to yelling (both ways), which inevitably leads to me wearing her little bottom out anyway. I've read every child-rearing book I could get my hands on, and they all say the same thing: do not spank in anger. Epic parenting FAIL. I only spank when I'm angry, how about you? I know I shouldn't, but I do. Why is it that I think that I know more than child psychologists and behaviorists? Why do I think that, somehow, the rules of behavior do not apply to me and my situation? Cuz I'm a stubborn old goat with a tender heart for my beloved, though mouthy, offspring. Sigh.

Well, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel or put my own twist on another's ideas, I've decided to just do what the experts say and do it consistently. After telling my seven year old what is unacceptable behavior (eye rolling, crossed arms, huffing, stomping, slamming doors, a sassy tone, or any other disrespectful gesture), the first offense is not another warning, but one swift swat on the butt. I've told her that I won't be angry when I do it (and I haven't been), but that the kind of behavior that has been shown previously has been unacceptable and will not be tolerated from here on out. How has it worked?

Well, Sunday she got two spanks before we ever even got to church. But the rest of the day she was great. To be honest, she was even more helpful and considerate afterwards than she's been in a long time. Yay! Of course, because it's still a new concept, she gets taken off guard when I pop her rear after she's sassed me... but she's catching on and it's getting better. And that's all I could hope for.

I walked in on her yesterday watching an episode of "Super Nanny" where Jo (the nanny) was explaining to the mother on the show that making your children mind makes you a good mother. Jamie asked me how I learned to be a mother. I told her that it was something that you learned as you go, but I was always trying to do better. She asked me if it was hard and I said that it was, but that it was something I enjoyed. I didn't know what to say, really, because she took me by surprise. But maybe one day, when she has kids of her own and she's dealing out her own "swats," she'll remember our talk and maybe, just maybe, she'll appreciate the discipline she received as a child. I hope so. Until then, I'm going to try to stay consistent and swat when necessary. Oh yeah, and maybe call my mom to apologize for the sassy lass I used to be. ;)

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