Posts Tagged ‘ child discipline ’

The More You Accept My No, The More I Say Yes

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

When we pull into our neighborhood each afternoon, there are two ways to drive to our house: Turn right and get there quicker, or continue going straight for the slightly longer scenic route that circles around.

Of course, every day you say, “Go straight! Go straight!”

Then I respond with, “Go straight, what?

(“Please” is the implied answer, obviously.)

Upon request, I always go straight to appease you. But Tuesday, you were distracted by the commercial airplane flying right over us (we basically live in the landing path of the Nashville airport) so I just turned right to save time.

“No, Daddy! NO! Go straight! Straight, Daddy!” you protested.

But I had already committed to my right turn and we had already been in the car nearly an hour by that point. I didn’t turn back around and “go straight.”

Therefore, you began crying real tears, so emotionally caught up that you could barely hear through my remedy as we sat in the parked car in front of our house:

“Jack, just calm down a little bit and we’ll go inside and see Mommy. I didn’t go straight today but it’s okay. I can’t always give you exactly what you want, when you want it. I need you to be okay with that. All you have to do right now is calm down a little bit and I’ll get you out of your seat.”

Basically, you had to stay in a 4 minute impromptu “strapped in the car seat” time-out session with me as I listened to classic 1984 Bruce Springsteen, but not your favorite song of his, “Dancing In The Dark.”

It’s similar to the assigned seats you’ve given Mommy and I on the couch. If I sit on the wrong end of the couch, you often get so upset that the end result is me turning off the laptop; meaning you can’t finish watching monster trucks clip on YouTube.

My lesson is typically and simply this: Just chill out and you’ll get what you want from me, most of the time.

But I have to know you’re okay with letting the answer be “no” sometimes, because the more you’re okay with “no,” the more likely I am to say “yes” the next time.

Needless to say, the day after your “Daddy, go straight!” meltdown/time-out in the car situation, you immediately said, “Daddy, you go straight? Please?” as soon as we turned into our neighborhood. Nice planning and prevention on your part, Son.

You got your way. Maybe my plan is slowly working.




Add a Comment

Groundbreaking Theory: Kids Have Less Emotional Intelligence Than Adults

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

2 years.

Dear Jack,

You can’t always change how you feel, but you can choose to decide how you’ll react to how you feel.

In other words, emotions are automatic; behavior is controllable.

That’s the lesson I was forced to teach you today.

I’m not gonna lie. This morning was the most difficult morning I’ve ever had with you.

It was rough! For both of us. Simply exhausting.

After getting you through the front door, I picked up on the fact you weren’t able to let it go that “YouTube time” was over and you had to go to school.

As I attempted to buckle you in your car seat, you screamed at me while bowing out your back, making it impossible for me to strap you in without possibly bruising you, as you violently resisted me.

So I took away your graham crackers and toy train.

That got your attention. I was able to buckle you in your seat as your focus was no longer about fighting me and now you were just simply angry at me for taking away your pre-breakfast snack and morning ride entertainment.

I started up the car and turned around to explain to you the deal, as you began your hostile emotional meltdown:

“Jack, listen. I’m going to give you your crackers and your toy; all you have to do is just one thing: Calm down. That means if you simply stop crying for a few seconds and stop screaming, you’ll get what you want.”

Your response, in a faux German accent: “MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!”

For the following 18 minutes, as I drove towards the interstate, it was a back and forth battle between the two of us: I would explain that all you had to do was calm down for a few seconds, you would retaliate with the equivalent of the Tasmanian Devil cursing.

I held a graham cracker in my hand just waiting for a 2 second pause in your crying. Finally, it happened. I slipped you one cracker.

Then you realized how it worked. If you calmed down, you got the very thing you were demanding.

By the second half of our drive to daycare, you had earned back all your crackers, as well as, your toy train.

Right now, at the age of 2, your emotional intelligence isn’t that high. Being able to manage your emotions is not easy for you.

So that means it’s my job to help you with that.

Your meltdowns seem to be triggered mainly when you are told no. Therefore, my main goal is to help you learn not to cry and get upset when I can’t, or won’t, give you what you want.

On the drive home tonight, I purposely avoided turning down the cul-de-sac with all the inflatable Snoopy Christmas yard decorations that you love to see. Instead, I wanted to test how you’d react.

Son, you did well. You accepted my rejection.

That means next time, you’ll definitely get to see Snoopy.

The more you can handle being told no, the more I will tell you yes.

I know it’s a struggle for you right now, but let me tell you, it’s even a challenge for me as an adult to be told no. I promise I know how you feel.





Add a Comment

A Slap In The Face: Child Abuse Or Discipline?

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

A year and a half.

Back in February when I was doing some research as I wrote “4 Out Of 5 Parents Spank Their Kids” I read that slapping a child in the face can be considering a form of spanking.

I was never slapped in the face by my parents, nor could I ever imagine doing that to my son. To deem a face slap as a form of discipline seems illegitimate to me.

But is it because of the age and culture I am a part of?

The premium TV show Mad Men always does a good job of pointing out situations that are largely considered taboo today, but back in the 1960′s when the show takes place, were considered normal and acceptable.

I have noticed that in this show, children get slapped in the face as a form of discipline and punishment; sometimes even by an adult who is not the child’s parent. And therefore, we are led to believe this was okay for 1963.

Meanwhile, my wife knows a man who, without shame, admitted he slaps his children to discipline them. He is not from America.

So I wonder, as a Generation Y American dad, am I preconditioned to believe that slapping my child in the face is taboo? Or is this type of punishment truly as legitimate as spanking a child on their bum?

I am simply hosting this conversation. I would like for you to point out the double standards, both in favor and against including face-slapping in the same category as spanking.

Do you consider slapping a child in the face morally wrong, yet believe spanking your child’s buttocks is acceptable?

Why is a slap in the face somehow worse? Is it more psychologically damaging than spanking?

Does it make a difference whether or not it leaves a physical mark the next day? Is that what is considered crossing the line?

Why is there more of a taboo on face-slapping?

Why are you more likely to see a parent spank their child in public than slap them in the face? Is it because less parents slap their kids in the face or is it because those parents know they would be confronted by another adult?

If you witnessed a parent slapping their child in the face in public, would you do or say anything to them about it? (Imagine this being an episode of that show What Would You Do?)

Okay, go…

Add a Comment

Is My Kid Starting The Terrible Twos Early?

Friday, June 8th, 2012

A year and a half.

There are certain rules that must be followed as a part of the Shell home:

Take your shoes off at the door.  Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Make your bed before you leave for the day.

But there is one in particular that is especially important to me:

No whining!

In our house, when you need a listening ear, someone to hear your problems and help by being there for you, you got it.

But to whine for no legitimate reason? Not acceptable.

Here recently, Jack has been making a big annoying fuss out of nothing. Or equally bad; getting upset about stupid stuff, like this morning when I wouldn’t let him play with sidewalk chalk during breakfast.

And I mean temper tantrum. Dramatic display of oppression. Wailing.

I have not studied the psychology behind the “Terrible Twos” but I assume it must be a crucial time in a kid’s life when they are extremely impressionable regarding behavioral training and when they are in need of knowing the security of followed-through discipline.

As an amateur follower of Feng Shui, I know the importance of combatting yang (aggressive energy) with ying (calming energy).

Jack’s yang of pitching a fit because we won’t let him take his food out of the kitchen is quenched with my ying of explaining to him why food must be eaten in the kitchen only; not over the carpet in the living room. Then I attempt to distract him with a view of outside or a toy.

If the emotional outburst persists, it’s a brief time-out session alone in his crib.

I will not allow myself to be overcome by the irrational thinking of an 18 month-old. And I’ve told him that.

To be honest, I kind of enjoy the challenge of my son’s early Terrible Twos. It’s like psychologically sparring with another human being. And after all, I can’t let an 18 month-old little boy beat a 31 year-old man.

As I think back to the first year of his life especially, I remember daily predicaments where my lack of maternal instincts caused me to get frustrated because I did not know what to do for my son.

But now, that is definitely changing. I’m seeing daily occurrences where my wife depends on me to handle our trainable little monster.

So I proudly rise to the challenge.

Like I told Jack: “You want to start your Terrible Twos early with me, kid? I’ll make sure you get your money’s worth. They will be terrible, all right. Maybe a little ‘two’ terrible.”

(My inspiration is evidently Robert DeNiro in Meet The Parents.)

While I’m sure my son didn’t pick up on the slight sarcasm nor the clever play on words, I know he got the main point.

Man, I love playing the villain.

Add a Comment