Friday, January 21, 2011


How do you punish your kid today?  In this age of "give me, give me, give me" and this sense of entitlement that they are growing up with?  

Maybe your parents didn't give you much and you are trying to compensate for what was not given to you?  Maybe they say "pretty please?", while they pout and bat those eyelashes and you just give in?  Or maybe you rationalize that life is too short and this is your kid and if you don't spoil him/her, who will?

I am guilty of giving in to those batting eyelashes.  I am guilty of rationalizing spoiling my child.  I am guilty of trying to compensate.

I am also painfully aware of this sense of entitlement that my kid is growing with.  And I am worried as to how to keep a balance.

I explained to him that the things we enjoy and need, are not free.  I work.  And I get paid for my work, therefore I also explained to him that his "job" is to go to school, behave in school and do his best in his classwork.  So when that does not get done, I have a problem with it.

Do you remember, when you were a kid, and you did something wrong in school, that the teacher would make you stand in front of the room and write a sentence over and over until you filled the blackboard?  Your hands would be white from the chalk.  You were probably coughing from all the chalk residue.  And you knew you couldn't sit down until you were done.  It didn't matter if your back hurt.  It didn't matter if your hand hurt.  That was your punishment and there was no question that you had to do what the teacher saw fit to do.  Period.  And you knew that your parents would not question the teacher's judgement.  And you knew that if your parents found out, you would have to deal with another punishment at home.

So I came up with a similar way of punishment and I am not sure if it is working completely yet.  I got a notebook and on the top of the page I write a sentence and he has to do two pages of that same sentence.  The sentence has to do with something that he did or did not do.  This week for example, it was a 3-day school week for them (no school on Monday and today Friday) so when I picked him up on Tuesday, he proudly announced he doesn't have homework to do, could he play Wii.  He got a fat NO when I read in his planner that he did not do any classwork in school.  Instead he got to writing "I will complete my classwork" over and over.

Was he happy?  No.  I explained to him that he will not get to do the things he likes to do if he doesn't do in school the things that he must do.

Did he do it?  Yes.  Did it work?  So far it seems to be working ... two straight days of him doing good in school, but we'll see what happens.  In the meantime I will make sure to keep a pencil sharpened and the notebook handy.

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