Too Many Snow Days

Last Tuesday, the kids were out of school for teacher inservices, then there was a blizzard, so no school Wednesday, then the temperature plummeted and there was no school on Thursday or Friday. Friday, I was at work, pulling into the driveway of one of my patients when I got a call from youngest son, “My brother just hit me in the head five times, as hard as he could.” “Are you bleeding? Did you pass out?” “No, I’m OK.” (Thinking to myself, then he didn’t hit you as hard as he could) To my son:” OK. I will deal with it when I get home.” We hang up and before I can get out of the car, the phone rings. The other son is calling me, ” You need to make your son get off the computer. Make him get off.” (To myself: Ah, that is what this is about.) To son: “I am working, I will deal with this when I get home.” While I am in the patient’s home, the phone rings 3 more times, but I do not answer it.

I much prefer the carrot to the stick approach to parenting. I don’t like punishing them, I don’t like nagging. Rewarding them for doing well is so much more fun. But sometimes punishment is the right thing to do. In general, I am in favor of natural consequences, that is letting the error lead to its own consequences. For example: a child forgets her homework/instrument/jacket; she takes the bad grade or shivers. It helps her remember next time if I don’t rescue her by supplying it. Sometimes the natural consequence to too severe: he forgot the paper to make band a six weight class (all the effort of a semester lost) so I help him out and fetch it on my lunch break. It should almost go without saying that some errors require intervention before they lead to irreparable damage, i.e drugs, alcohol, sex, rock and roll. (just threw that last one it to see if you were paying attention)

Anyway, coming to fisticuffs with your brother over the laptop, is not that serious an issue. But violent responses are NOT okay, so the laptops have been sent to a secure location for a week. 

Really, what could be a worse punishment that no Facebook for a week?


4 thoughts on “Too Many Snow Days

  1. Béatrice says:

    I am sure I would have many things to learn from you in the parenting department. I guess the challenge is to know where to draw the line between learning your lesson and a consequence that is too severe. To this day I am grateful to my mum for bringing my calculator that I had forgotten on the math exam day (I was 8 or 9 years old). I remember seeing her appearing with the calculator in her hand during morning break. I thought my life was destroyed and there she was, my savior in a halo of light! 😀


    • Fawn says:

      That is always the challenge. And it is complicated by the fact that each child needs a different level of consequence and the same child at different stages of their development. I tell the story of my different children: my daughter was so sensitive to correction that all I had to do was say her name in a disapproving tone and she would go into full-remorse posture: eyes down, chin to chest, shoulders slumped and immediately change her behavior. My youngest son did not respond to any correction: scolding, time-outs, spanking, withholding of privileges, bribery until I learned a restraining hold that mental health professionals used in a clinical setting. Essentially, I held him on my lap in a way that he could not hurt himself or me. He hated it, and I finally had a tool to begin correcting his behavior.
      Parenting is always a dialogue between this particular parent and this particular child at this particular moment. Sometimes we do it skillfully, sometimes not. I think the best outcomes will occur when we approach the moment and the child and ourselves with love.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s