Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I don't know what your views are about discipline and, of course, punishment for children and at the risk of offending some of you perhaps, I debated about whether I should post this or not.

I do and I don't believe in corporal punishment. I've always believe for very small children -toddlers -that a little pat on the behind with a stern voice and reprimand were fine. Not a hard, hand on skin type hit, but just a friendly reminder, shall we say, that the child's actions were not in line with the expectations of the adult population.

I did that with my kids when they were small and as they grew up, I did a lot more threatening than actual physically giving them a smack. That is not to say that occasionally, things got to a point where it seemed the only thing that would suffice as appropriate to reprimand them did involve a spanking but those occasions were, for my kids, pretty much as far and few in between as had been spankings I received too as a kid.

Usually, with mine, I could threaten them that I was going to count to three and by the time I hit three, their behavior had best taken an about face or they knew, somehow or other, there would be hell to pay. Not necessarily physical punishment of a spanking but something would give and it wouldn't be me, so they'd best straighten up and fly right.

Not that they were always all that good at remembering what the house rules were supposed to be, but overall, they turned out pretty darned decent by the time they hit adulthood.

Now, with Maya -boy, she really knows how to put people to the test of wills!

When she gets a notion into her head, trying to distract her to something else or even more difficult, to discipline her is quite a task.

Sunday afternoon, I was busy in the kitchen, trying to make a dessert dish, as well as two other dishes to take with us to church that night for the annual St. Lucia Program and Pot Luck Dinner so I really wasn't in the mood at all to put up with any of her shenanigans.

I had been after her for quite some time to pick up toys she had strewn around the living room and she had repeatedly been ignoring my requests. I put both her and Kurtis into a time out -7 minutes for her (it goes by the age of the child) and for Kurtis, 4 minutes. Of course, she was highly offended that his time out was shorter than hers and I simply told her that was too bad, so sad, but that's the breaks of this game, ya know.

And still she refused to obey my instructions to pick up any of the mess she had on the living room floor. No! Now she also began to sass me too and was also poking her feet (clad in socks) into Kurt's face and I told her to stop that, to sit up straight and behave till her time out was over or else, she was liable to end up with a sore behind.

(Yes, I do threaten that punishment from time to time and sometimes -if I am very lucky -she will realize and remember that every now and again Grammy's threats aren't just words, but if pushed too far, she just might follow through.

Sunday, Maya decided to push me a bit more and I went over to her, got her by her upper arms and pulled her into a sitting position away from her brother. She sassed me yet again and I told her she'd best think twice about talking to me like that. Oh how that child loves a challenge, ya know -cause she mouthed off once more to me and with that, I raised my hand and gave her a very quick, but a bit sharp smack on her behind.

The look on her face was absolutely priceless as I could see she was really surprised by this.

But what got me even more was when she looked up and me and said, "Hey! You did that on purpose!"

Damned straight I did my little Princess!

But I also had to turn around and glanced at my son, who was laying on the sofa, watching tv and both of us had to put our hands over our mouths so as not to let her see we were both laughing at her response then too!

As I said, this is not a means of discipline that I use all the time -just when she gets really out of hand and I can't get a means to redirect her at the time. Much of the time, she know when she's about pushed me to my limits simply by looking at my eyes and she can tell a lot by the glare she gets from me as well as the tone of my voice.

But every now and again, she is the recipient of that thing many refer to as an "attitude adjustment."

A bit later when her mother came onto the scene, she got yet another rude awakening because she and her brother had pretty much trashed their bedroom and she had refused to help pick up that mess too. So Mandy grabbed a garbage bag, headed up to their room and proceeded to pick everything up off the floor and put it in the garbage bag then, telling Maya it was all going into the trash. A whole lot of wailing and gnashing of the teeth then ensued and the bag made its way downstairs where it is now still sitting but which will shortly go to the basement, out of sight for a while and Maya will be left to brood and stew a bit about all the toys, many which she just got for her birthday two months ago, are now in that bag.

It's a toss-up whether either method works or if one works better than the other. But with her, because of her obsessions at times, you have to take a really firm stand with her or else.

With Kurtis, generally all I have to do with him most of the time is to give him "the look" or what my kids always referred to as the "evil eye" and he takes off and starts picking him toys and such. The only time the "evil eye" has absolutely no affect whatsoever on him is when it comes to trying to get him to eat! He can be just as stubborn then as his sister if he insists he isn't going to eat something on his plate!

How did or do you handle discipline with your kids? Just wondering.

I remember my Mom getting really, really angry with me a few times when I was a child and on those occasions when she actually administered a spanking, it was something I knew then and remember today that I richly deserved that punishment too!

My kids will likely say the same about what they did and what I did in return as well.

I do wonder though with Maya, in particular, how she views her behaviors vs our house rules and punishment for disregarding them.


Anonymous said...

I think if kids were better disciplined it would create a less destructive world. I don't agree with hitting a child, but a smacked bottom does no harm. The world is now a violent environment and what doesn't help, in my humble opinion, are the disgusting video games which depict fighting, wars, killing each other. What example is that showing for young people? I'm not saying we should all worship fluffy bunny rabbits but less violence and encouraging behaviour should be substituted with better education, manners and respect.

CJ xx

Lori said...

I am absolutely sure you are not the only one that struggles with this issue of discipline and punishment as a grandparent. With more and more grandparents having their grandchildren living in their homes it is becoming an issue. With people fearing social services and the government stepping in, parents have stopped doing these things. While it is good in certain situations for them to step in, it is not always needed.

I raised 5 kids using spanking as one of the punishments. The arguement against spanking is that it makes kids violent people. Now I will agree that hitting children for no reason and on other places then the butt, is abusive and if done enough that pattern is likely to be repeated in the next generation. Not one of my children turned out to be violent. Some of them got spanked more than others. Not one of them is against spanking either. I do not see spanking as hitting nor do I use in a lot. I save it for certain situations.

Now that I am doing this parenting gig all over again, I am still a believer in spanking. I don't do it a lot but I do it when needed. It is hard as a grandparent to spank and discipline. It's especially hard if you feel sorry for your grandchild. But discipline is love and by training them in these things for life we are showing them love. When our grandchildren live with us it puts us in a whole different playing field and it can be difficult to know where to draw the line. Since we are now raising them as ours, they get treated as so.

When we have the issue of toys needing to be picked up, I say matter of factly, "it's time to pick up this room. You have 15 minutes(or whatever suitable time)to get them picked up. Whatever is left out or not put back in the correct place goes in my garbage can." I have a special garbage can for these items. True to my word anything not picked up goes in the can. I don't argue with them nor do I give warnings except to say how much time is left when they ask me. Anything in the can is mine until they pay me for it. One day a week I have a free 10 minute period in which they can take their things and put them away where they belong. Anything left in the can for long periods I get rid of. This really works and they know I mean it when I say get this room picked up.

Good luck with this! XX

terri said...

Had to read this to Kacey! We both cracked up over "Hey! You did that on purpose!"

My kids got a lot of time outs and very rarely, a little swat on the butt. Spanking had become pretty taboo by the time my kids came along, but when I was a kid, every kid I knew was afraid of being spanked with a particular object. In my house, it was the ruler. Other friends were afraid of the hair brush or wooden spoon. The really unlucky ones were afraid of the belt!

CiCi said...

Disciplining children is indeed a post or several really. I had three kids and I did not use a board or a switch from a tree branch like my mother used on me. But I did spank on occasion. Regarding picking up toys, I would keep half of their toys put away and periodically change out a few toys. That way it was like getting new things to hold their interest and less for them to pick up.There were times that I would tell them about particular families who had a disaster or were homeless and asked my kids to look through their things, clothes and toys that we could take to give to the other families. Always trying to get them to think of others and not just their own little world.

Diva's Thoughts said...

Never a dull moment with kids I tell ya.

Suldog said...

Spanking - with a purpose in mind, and not just random violence - is perfectly acceptable, to me. It certainly does no physical harm to the child, and the mental good it instills is worth far more than any relative damage to their psyches. Just my two cents.

Travis Cody said...

My mom believed in a smack on the backside and I had my share. It was a serious punishment reserved for serious misbehavior. I see nothing wrong with it.

I've always thought that punishing misbehavior should be appropriate to the issue and consistent. I think one of the worst things one can do with discipline is to be inconsistent.