Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spanking and other discipline...

Mercifully, we had a snow day yesterday, amid our wonderful January blizzard. It wasn't really a blizzard yesterday, but the road conditions were so bad I was relieved that Mike did not have to travel on them. In addition, I was thankful for the back-up that I had for the day. We had gone to our in-laws' for supper on Sunday evening, a rather absurd thing to do considering the traveling conditions. We got stuck several times just trying to get out of our own driveway, which Mike had plowed the day before. Again leaving their place in the evening we got stuck multiple times trying to get out of their driveway, which was very slippery and we were on an upward incline. We made it home, despite the highway looking like an NHL arena, but travel hazards aside, we broke the cardinal rule and had our boys out past their bedtime on a Sunday evening. Okay, past their bedtime on any evening is bad news, but for me, Sunday is particularly bad because there will be nobody but me left to deal with the repercussions the next few days at home. And there have been repercussions. With my kids, there always are. They really need their sleep and if they stay up late, they do NOT sleep in.

The nice thing is, I have been watching the odd episode of the Supernanny. I know, some people think it is pathetic that my generation needs shows like the Supernanny to see how it's done. I believe in generations past, spanking was the acceptable and common practice for discipline, and I can certainly say that for me, grounding was also quite prevalent. However, grounding is not effective on three year olds and younger, so that is not even a consideration. There are now a lot of confusing messages out there for us inexperienced parents and I believe that is one of the reasons we sometimes falter and look to experts for help. The spanking is no longer considered the tried-and-true method, and is even a major faux-pas. Parents are afraid to spank, even if they believe it is the best method, because they are afraid of being accused of abuse. This is not a post about pro-spanking or anti-spanking. I am simply stating that parents are looking for alternative ways of disciplining their children, and that is why shows like the Supernanny are popular. As an aside, there is a good possibility that the decline of spanking is also the reason why shows like the Supernanny are necessary, and why kids are so out of control. It all depends on which stance you take, and also on whether you want your discipline to be primarily a punishment or a learning tool. Personally, I would like a balance. Something that is undesirable to the child, but also teaches them to choose the right thing because they WANT to do the right thing, not just out of fear of punishment.

So, having said that, I have to admit that when it comes to time outs, I have not been terribly consistent with my methods. After seeing a few episodes of Supernanny, I decided to give her method a go. I saw a show where she was enforcing this time-out style with a seven-year-old, and I was encouraged to see that the poor mother, even doing everything right, had to fight with this boy for a full hour before she was able to enforce an entire seven minute time-out. Wow. I suppose it encouraged me because my three-and-a-half-year-old rarely responds on the first try. It is nice to see something carried out and to know that eventually a child will give in. I started employing this method with Cody on Saturday, I think. Maybe it was Sunday. I don't remember. All I know is, I believe it is working, and I intend to stick with it. Somehow, even though there is a battle involved, I feel more confident in the outcome, and Cody is responding well. I especially like that it really gives me a chance to communicate with him before and after administering it, which seems to help him not to remain in that irrational, out-of-control, preschool rage-mode. It is also nice to have him on a chair in the kitchen instead of continually banishing him to his room whenever he does something bad.

Mike was home yesterday because of the roads, but today he will not be home at all until late. Probably 10:30 or 11 p.m., so I am truly on my own. I'm kind of dreading the next three hours, but then again, at least it's only another three hours. Micah is sleeping right now, and the other two are currently watching Dora. I hope I am not making an error letting them watch TV, but I thought they would both enjoy a little break. As usual, I have diaper laundry going in the background, and two other clean loads that are not folded yet. I will be really stretching my culinary skills tonight and cooking Kraft Dinner for the crew. I figured if Mike wouldn't be here anyway there was no sense in busting my butt to make an elaborate meal. I'll just have a sandwich or something. Maybe a smoothie?

In other news, Oreo appears to have gone blind in one eye. Oreo is our mini-lop rabbit, for anyone who doesn't know. He is turning nine years old on April 10th, and apparently rabbits live anywhere from eight to fifteen years, so he is in the senior years. I just noticed his eye a few nights ago when I was checking to make sure he had food before we went to bed. His pupil, which is quite large on a rabbit, was kind of a milky-grey color, and looks really gross. Of course I have eyeball issues, so I can hardly handle looking at it, but it is not improving, and it really looks as though he is blind. I feel terrible about it, and I find it very depressing. I'm not sure whether to take him to a vet, or whether there is any point. What can they do about it anyway? I might call and talk to a vet to see whether it is even necessary. I have always loved pets, but it is really difficult when they hit this stage in life.

Uh-oh! I forgot to send Mike a grocery list. I better do that right now. Hopefully I make it through this evening without disaster!! Bye for now.

No comments: