Saturday, December 13, 2008

What I really want to know is, are you kind? (4 of 4)

It's a balance, because I want him to know that his actions create reactions and have consequences, but I don't want him to be scared of those or to learn to overreact from me--from my time in theater, I know there are plenty of performers who will gladly teach him that if we wants to learn it later.

I want to believe that a consistent approach--we've chosen time out--will eventually extinguish the behavior even if it seems to have little effect now, but I also want to scoop him up and comfort him and tell him that despite his current frustration, hunger, fatigue, that everything is OK. Of course, what I do is put him in time out and hug him and kiss him when he comes out--after he apologizes.

But what to do when the little Brainiac in time out asks for water? asks for a soft lovie? or stands up and waits until I come over to sit back down? or takes off his pants and diaper and starts examining his diaper?

Yes, he's learned that we can't very well put him in time out when he's already in time out, so misbehaving in time out has limited consequences. Also, he doesn't mind time out. In fact, he'll put himself into time out when he wants to stop whatever it is we're doing.

Don't want to go to the car? Slug Daddy and you know that he'll have to stop and put you down on the curb in time out. Or does that break Mom's rule about not disciplining kids in public?

When I'm trying to pop my eye from the back of my skull back into its socket or trying to reattach my lip to my face, it's not so easy to consider all of these questions and my responses calmly. It's also easy to lose track of our shared goal: a return to calmness.

If I can remember that goal, I generally do OK, but it's always hard to remember that 3B doesn't mean to hurt me when he looks me dead in the eye, grabs my nose between his fingers with their razor sharp nails and yanks it like it's a chain saw starter cord. He just wants to get his way.

Just like that comedy magic act didn't mean to raise my blood pressure 40 points in an hour; they just wanted to get their way. And the correct answer to that kind of behavior hasn't changed: Be kind. As the Dalai Lama said, "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."

About that act? They capitulated before the end of the lunch break, of course. After all, there's no shortage of ego in show business, and there's no better food for an ego than being able to say that you're part of a sold-out blockbuster.

How about you? What balance do you find it difficult to maintain in your life? How do you do it?

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  1. I believe in letting kids be in charge of themselves, and thinking that they are getting their way. Sometimes this is acheived through choices such as, Do you want me to hit you in the face or would you rather have time out? I know I would rather have time out myself and perhaps, before you deck me in the face you could ask me the same thing!! There is a very fine line that we walk where we want kids to learn appropriate behavior but we don't want them always thinking that the world revolves around them. I know it doesn't, ask any one of my kids, they will tell you the world revolves around them! (giggle)

    It is nice that his parents can stay kind, however when he hits middle school, not everyone will be. We can talk about the real world later.

  2. Anonymous1:36 PM

    What I am about to write will more than likely blow most minds that read this blog.

    I have since moving to Vegas several years ago become a much more polite and tolerant person. Why? Well the old saying armed society is a polite society seems true. Nearly every day I carry a .45 either with a shirt or jacket covering or wide open on my hip. Even driving I no longer have road rage. I understand that I have on me what some say is the great equalizer. I am nicer to store clerks, waiters etc. I carry on my hip huge responsibility to myself and others around me. I practice several days a week to keep my self and gear in working order. Since we do not have kids I have to find my balance elsewhere. I keep in mind when help is needed police are only minuets away.

    I guess I could have used how we are with our dogs who are our kids but that is not as much of a mind blower.

    Keeping my aura in check.

    TCB on balance, not the crappy Van Halen album but life, King out.

  3. Anonymous7:48 PM

    Oops, wrong secret identity.

    Lately my balance challenge has been:

    sleep -- or -- web surfing?

    That Dalai Lama quote is wonderful.

    Time out is limited in usefulness in my experience. I look at it as a way to snap out of the current situation, and for older kids it does function as a sort of consequence for unwanted behavior. With really little kids I think it's only partly useful because of what 3B has discovered!

  4. KMoo: True. 3B would choose time out almost every time, but that still doesn't get us where we're going, or where we want him to go. As for the world revolving around 3B, he'll have to move me from the center of the universe if he wants that to happen...I'm a Californian, after all.

    King: Are you saying that 3B should pack heat?

    Amama: Writing this at 12:35 a.m., I have no idea what you're talking about with your whole surf or sleep balance...hahahahahahahaha zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Yes, I have a reply back to a comment about time out on an earlier part of this series. Time out is a bit of a catch-22 at this age.

  5. Anonymous1:34 AM

    I wonder how useful timeout is to the boy later in life? I mean what fun is it sitting around having a drink if you cant join in and say "Hey my ol man whupped me with a radiator hose one time" story.

    TCB on hickory switches!!

    And no I do not condone the boy packing heat. Yet.

  6. I guess the real question is can you be kind while getting YOUR way? This would teach him that being kind is how to get your way, not hitting and being angry.

    So far all you have taught him is that he gets what he wants no matter his behavior. The focus should be on what is appropriate behavior. I don't care if you just hit daddy, you are getting in this car!!! That would not be a choice he has. The choice you have is to make his life uncomfortable when he makes a bad choice. Perhaps flexibility and creativity are needed here more than just one consistent punishment. Immediate consequence for his actions is a must. I never believed in "wait until your father gets home" tactic, sometimes he was gone for months or a year.

    After discipline, no matter what it is, hugs and kisses are always required. I was always confused by my kids coming to me for comfort after I had punished them. Now that they are older, I understand better, I am the one they still come to for comfort and I like that.