Saturday, March 7, 2009

As a consequence...

Being a mom forces you to be creative.

Some moms are creative in a lot of different aspects… they can be creative on a budget, making gifts and goodies for teachers, family and friends. Other moms are creative with their menus, trying out new recipes on their families.

Me, on the other hand… I try to be creative with my consequences for the kids. You may remember my strawberry solution from a few weeks ago?

But trust me, I’m not always clever (or evil) in my punishments… the consequences in our house have run the gamut:
Time-Out? Check.
‘Naughty stool’? Done it.
Spankings? Been there, swatted that.
Losing privileges? Yep.
In the course of disciplining three kids, we’ve tried a variety of different tactics, with varying degrees of success.

My darling husband is a huge proponent of the ‘Lost Toy’ disciplining philosophy… which basically means, if you can’t follow the rules, you will lose a particular toy for a few days. Usually the favored toy of the moment. And the toy will be swooped up, deposited on the top shelf of our closet… where it will collect dust for an indeterminate period. Because honestly, with my kids, usually once something is gone, the whole ‘outta sight… outta mind’ mindset takes over. They completely forget about the toy they’ve lost.

If your kids are anything like mine, they have WAAAAAY too many toys. (and please don’t give me that crap about how YOU don’t over-indulge YOUR kids… yours might have fewer toys than your neighbor’s kid, but compared to kids in other parts of the world, kids in our country are unbelievably over-indulged. Okay… climbing down off my soapbox now ;) Anyway, once one toy is gone, my kids will just play with something else, and forget that they ever lost the original toy in the first place.

So what’s a parent to do? Well, this morning, our disciplining techniques were put to the test…

This morning, we found an empty box of Girl Scout Cookies in the pantry. Who ate the cookies? All signs pointed to our sweet angel child, Libby. Well, all signs, AND an older sister and brother pointed to Libby. We asked her about the cookies, and oh so innocently, and looking at us ever so angelically, she said, “No, Mommy, it wasn’t me!” (insert batting eyelashes here)

We persisted in the interrogation… and she still denied having eaten the last few cookies in the box (no, it wasn’t a whole box… she would have been bouncing off the walls… clear proof) The cookies, themselves, were not a big deal… in fact, it was more like, ‘Who finished the cookies and then didn’t throw away the empty box?’

We didn’t care that she’d eaten the cookies, we cared that she fibbed about it. And persisted in fibbing, until Phil threatened to take away her Leapster video game. At that point, she caved, and admitted that she’d eaten the cookies. That’s how they always get them in those true crime shows, too… Leapster video games.

Phil told her to go upstairs and get her Leapster. (Insert sobbing and fit throwing here…) She finally calmed down when I told her that I wasn’t taking her Leapster away from her. Trust me, I know what you’re thinking right now… ‘WHAAAAT?!!’ Imagine my husband’s face when I said that, too. ;)

Nope, I didn’t take her Leapster video game away for eating the cookies. I didn’t take her Leapster away for fibbing about it. I didn’t take her Leapster away at all.

I DID, however, meet her downstairs with a screwdriver to remove the batteries from the Leapster. She got to keep her game… heck, she can even sleep with it in bed with her every night if she wants to! She will NOT be playing it, though. And maybe seeing it on a daily basis will be a visual reminder that she needs to tell us the truth when we ask her something. (well, hopefully)

In the meantime, I’ve got a zip-loc bag of batteries gathering dust on my shelf. ;)


Anonymous said...

I think that is the most clever punishment ever!!! That girl is going to give you a run for your money!!!

Shanda Boatright said...

Love it, Staci. Your phone might be ringing soon. :o)

Marcy said...

As a mother of four girls (much older than yours) - points to you for creativity and originality! I may have to test this one on a cell phone/ipod at some time.