Saturday, November 20, 2010

Actions and Consequences

What do you think of my decision? Please be honest.

A few weeks ago I found one of my son's  t-shirts with several scissor cuts in the hem area. When confronted he (eventually) admitted to cutting the t-shirt.  Don't you hate the sentence ' I don't knooooowwwww.....' You know the kind you get when you ask your kid why in the name of Sam Hill they did something?! It was a brand new shirt and I wasn't pleased. I gave him a scolding and a stern warning that he could only cut paper and only with permission. Later I found another t-shirt with a cut in the bottom. I didn't say anything figuring it had happened shortly before the one I'd found previously.
This morning I noticed my daughters' Corbin Bleau (sp?) concert ticket on her desk. I wondered why it wasn't in it's usual place but didn't say anything suspecting that she was rearranging her belongings. I should mention that she met the singer/actor and he autographed that ticket.
Hours later I heard much commotion. My son (who turned 5 in August btw), cut up the ticket. I gave him a spank on the derriere this time and grounded him for the rest of the weekend. No sweets, desserts, tv or pc time. Now IT man is mad at me for messing up the weekend. He felt I should just have left the grounding to the rest of the day until evening. You see, Saturday is family TV night. We watch a movie and eat a steak dinner.  Now that we won't watch the tube together tonight IT man is boycotting steak and family time. Thanks, I love being the family ogre. Apparently we can't do without the TV. He feels my punishment is too severe and is irate that it affects our family movie time. Gee, sorry I didn't time Bear's bad behaviour better.  He should have done this on a Monday. He also feels Bear shouldn't have had access to scissors and that I shouldn't teach him how to cut stuff up even though I told him that this was necessary fine motor skills practise we must do. He found the scissors in his big sister's desk by the way.

So, you experienced mothers and fathers out there. Please let me know what you guys think.  Was I too severe?  I know this is quite a severe punishment but feel that the lack of punishment during the t-shirt episode contributed to this. My parents were big on punishments. His parents quite the opposite. I strive for the middleground. Our children are rarely punished. Scolded and sit down meetings happen with some more frequency but two day groundings can be counted on one hand for both combined. 

How do you discipline your kids? Do you discuss the punishement together or does one parent usually assume the ogre role?  How do you handle the situation when one of you disagrees with the punishment?


Lisa said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and following! I'm now your newest follower! :)

We get a lot of "I don't knows" around here. :)
Lisa xoxo

Eva said...

Marlis, in our family we kind of try to respect the other's way of disciplining. I think it's not good for children to see their parents disagreeing about discipline, at least not in front of them. That normally causes endless discussions, like "Dad never does that," or "But Mom allows us to do this or that."

Sometimes we find the other's way of diciplining too hard or simply wrong and talk about it without the children. That sometimes leads to a parent apologizing to a child or changing the correction.

By the way, do you know why your son is doing the cutting? Is it really simply defiance or is there a deeper reason?

Arby said...

IT Man, grow up. Welcome to the wonderful world of parenting. Sometimes a parent gives a punishment that the other parent disagrees with. Support your spouse. Do not undermine her efforts. Let scissor boy know that you stand with his mother. It just might help stop the unwanted behavior. Discuss the punishment rationally in private and develop mutually agreed-upon punishments for the future, but in the short term support your spouse’s decision. DO NOT blame your spouse for ruining the weekend. The weekend is not ruined, but it might be if you keep throwing a temper tantrum. Seriously, who are you punishing by boycotting steak? Marriage is not an “I’m taking my ball and going home” event. Dude, it’s steak! Eat it, enjoy it, and watch TV with your spouse. Taking the attitude that the boy should not have had access to scissors in the first place puts all the blame and responsibility on your wife. You put the responsibility on her shoulders to foresee all possible consequences of daily life. When does that stop? It’s an impossible standard for her to attain.

It’s the kid who messed up. It’s the kid who is in trouble. It’s kinda silly to allow that to cause a fight between parents.

Marlis, my wife and I discuss punishments, but it is usually in response to one of us being too severe. Those conversations usually result in good guidelines for future events. Rarely do we alter a punishment after it has been given. It sends a bad message to the kids. IF we do, we explain to them why and reinforce their understanding of what they did wrong and why they are being punished. Neither parent should be the ogre. Both parents should share that title equally.

Your punishment was not too severe.

In my humble, if somewhat cranky, opinion)

Marlis said...

Hey, guys, thanks for stopping by and offering your opinions and advice.
I didn't pursue the matter any further that day but stuck by my decision to keep the punishment. By evening IT must've realized how goofy he was and we did end up with a lovely family dinner just no TV or desert. When I took Bear shopping that afternoon he remarked how he disliked being grounded. I told him punishments weren't meant to be fun. He certainly got the message LOL.
I must point out that we didn't argue in front of the kids. IT man made that mistake only once many years ago LOL.

Lisa, welcome to my corner of life.

Eva, he just likes to cut stuff and something about the ticket must have caught his eye. I asked him if should take his favorite stuffie and cut that up. He was quite appalled and I told him that's how he made his sissie feel.

Arby, IT man tends to sulk easily LOL. He is very much a creature of habit and to him a deviation from what we 'always' do is a great source of irritation. Add to that the fact that he was out of bloodpressure meds and he was a pretty grouchy boy. At least I know I wasn't being a hardheaded ogre LOL. I value your (even when it's cranky :) ) opinion.

Carolyn said...

I don't think you were unfair at all. He'd had the warning when it came to his shirts, he knew not to cut things other than craft stuff and paper, and he took a treasured object of his sister's. Several trespasses there! I think a swift, severe punishment is the only thing that will stick with him now, as the scolding didn't!

BTW, so glad you liked the tortellini soup! And glad you made the changes that suit your tastes and needs.

Our Splendid Adventure said...

Ugh, it's always tough when parents disagree over a punishment. But sometimes, you need to take out the big guns.

A few months ago, Nut (5y/o) put some lebaneh (a yogurt cheese) in our shopping cart after she was told that we weren't buying any that day. I didn't notice until we got home. I told her that it was too late to return it, so she wouldn't get any of it. I wrote that on the lid. DH was a little annoyed. "I'll always have to come up with a different snack for her when I make lebaneh sandwiches for everyone else." But it WORKED! She remembered that consequence, and hasn't tried to sneak anything into the cart since.

Question though, did scissor boy not get dessert or did everyone skip dessert?

Marlis said...

Nobody ate dessert. Actually we forgot about it and my little sweet-toothed scissorboy didn't mention it.

He has been on his best behavior since then so I guess he really hated being grounded.

Arby said...

I'm pleased to read that everything worked out well.

A Homeschool Story said...

Hi Marlis,

Just catching up on your posts, you know I never miss one!

Whether or not the punishment was too severe is a little beside the point, picking a consequence you are prepared to stick with is what counts (and sticking with it can be even harder). You picked one, persevered and had great results, congratulations.

We had the same scissors problem in our house at the same age, twice. I don't know what that is. One funny that came of it was when out shopping one day and I handed the cashier a dollar bill. He turned it over without saying anything, looked at me funny...and I realized I had just handed him HALF of a dollar bill. It was my five year old son, who had really wanted, and I quote, "Two dollars, so I cut it in two." Logical little critter. Wish I had not been in public when I discovered it. One always feels one must be more severe in public than in private. He also cut up a hand-knit vest from his grandmother and a pair of pyjama bottoms before I removed the scissors from his use completely for a time (and probably spanked his little bottom.)

This too shall pass.