Thursday, May 6, 2010

Countdown to Mother's Day with Discipline

Today is more Slacker Mom stuff... If you didn't see {yesterday's} post, check it out and get caught up.

Here is what Author Muffy Mead-Ferro has to say about discipline in her book, "Confessions of a Slacker Mom."

On Natural Consequences:

"As a slacker mom, I am very fond of "natural consequences" when it comes to punishments. If Joe decides to eat a family pack of Cheetos, I think vomiting is a fit penalty. My jumping up and getting mad, and doling out my own form of punishment would simply be redundant. So, I can just stay right where I am with my lovely cup of tea... aaah.

"My mother certainly didn't overwork herself in that regard. Right before my 5th grade pictures were taken, I decided to give myself a makeover and trimmed up the bangs and sides of my curly hair with my dad's shaving razor... I resembled a poodle. Do you think my mom got mad at me? No. She just sat there and looked at me for a moment, then turned back to her book in an effort not to laugh loudly. Not only did she not scold me, but she didn't run me over to the beauty salon in town to see if anything could be salvaged, the slacker. But I didn't need a lecture from her to wish...I hadn't done that two days before they took my class photo." (100-101)

I don't know that I'd rush right off to the salon either... but I would definitely see if there was a "retake" date! hahaha!

Muffy doesn't say that she never gets mad or that you should only rely on natural consequences (like if a child runs into traffic). She believes that sometimes getting mad IS effective! Check this out!!!

On Empty Threats and Getting Mad:

"Two hours into [the car ride] they start provoking each other with an efficiency that can only be achieved by blood relations. Grabbing the bag of pretzels, then wagging it out of reach. Then kicking, hitting, and hair pulling. Followed by screeching and screaming. ...nothing I had to say slowed the escalation of the conflict. Finally, I'd had it... I pulled the car off the road, which was a big surprise to them, and came to an abrupt stop. They were already silenced by the troubling turn of events. But they were even more alarmed when I turned and spanked both of them sharply on their thighs (I couldn't reach their behinds), and yelled that if they didn't stop fighting in the car, we would turn right around and go home!

"My kids were smart enough to know that I wouldn't make good on that threat. We were 120 miles up the road. I am aware that the parenting books number one no-no is making threats that you can't or won't follow through on. But the empty threat didn't diminish my words or actions one iota. The point was, I was spitting mad. I was mad enough to pull off the road and stop the car. Mad enough to haul off and whack them, and then yell at them with a wide-eyed look on my face. They didn't like that at all...and behaved like model citizens for the next 100 miles. ...Belle and Joe understood when I pulled the car off the road that one of the consequences of bad behavior is that it tends to make other people irate. (103-104)

Sorry - but I had to laugh at that last one. I think many of us who grew up with siblings and took road trips often can probably identify with the whole, "Do you want me to pull this car over?" or the "If you don't knock it off, I'm gonna turn this car around!"

It also made me Laugh Out Loud to read that, partly because I know there has been a time or two (or three) in which I have lost my temper and had the "wide-eyed" crazed look on my face. It is a great stress-reliever to know I wasn't alone.

Also - I know I have posted about this before, but in addition to "natural consequences" when "available", I also believe in "immediate" consequences for the most part. I don't do groundings, because, that means MORE responsibility for ME to remember who is grounded from what and for how long, and I am just too lazy for all of that, because, let's face it -- I'm a Slacker Mom! hahaha!

I did have a "corner-stander" child. It was the only thing that saved my sanity {and his life}, although, one time I forgot he was still there by the time it was bed time. I have another child who is a "you have every right to your feelings and anger and emotions; just go have them in your room" type of child. But as they get older, I find I am more the "I am disappointed in you..." speech-giver and the "now you get to do an extra chore" hander-outer. But, again, it has to be immediate, cuz I do NOT want to have to write it down or, for gosh sake's, remember it! Hahahaha!

What sort of Slacker Mom are YOU when it comes to discipline?

Works Cited:
Mead-Ferro, Muffy. Confessions of a Slacker Mom. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2004. Print.

5 comments:

Susie said...

I am such a control freak so, my discipline is pretty rigid. I do let the fashion choices go.

Puphigirl said...

I have done groundings, but not for long periods of time, because you are right, it just makes more work for me. I also think that one day of not getting to do something can be as effective as a week or month.

I have been a spanker. I'm a yeller. I have also been the craze-eyed mother.

One thing about our mother, while some of the threats were outlandish, it got you to behave because you knew that she followed through on other threats. So just maybe she would actually tear off my arms and beat me up one side and down the other.

Tulsi said...

We would rather them make their mistakes at home before leaving the house or college. I can't say we are strict at all. We really don't have many discipline problems. Even when all 3 were at home. But it is immediate if they happen. The kids aren't perfect, but most of what they do is a kind of "lesson learned from this" stuff. Coming in late is not tolerated. It's easier now because her driver's license has curfews. And if she wants to drive, she has to be in on time. And the number one rule in the house is Don't make your mother cry. The kids really do think of that before they do something stupid. All three have said that.

RhondaLue said...

Honestly, I'm a freaky cool mom with my teens but there are days, like today, when I put my foot down about something and dang straight it better be respected. If not, you are an ingrate and I will discontinue freaky cool mom days until further notice. Luckily, after a little pouting, it was respected.

I'm also not much of a grounder, I have too many kids to keep all those things straight but if they give me lip, or tease a younger sibling mercilessly, they will get a chore they HATE and they will get it RIGHT THEN. Works for me!

okeydokeyifine said...

Yeller, hitter, grounder....what ever worked, and what worked for one did not always work for another. I have a very loud voice, and glaring "mad" eyes, and a very hard hand (or other object if I did not want to hurt my hand).
Does any of this sound like child abuse...well it was. I am surprised the children still talk to me.
Have you heard that familiarity breeds contempt? The more I am around one little grandchild that pushes my buttons to the limits, the more these old things rise to a head. He gets to witness this first hand. Now don't get me wrong, I love him and he can be such an angel at times... then there are those other times. Poor little "fadatfa bu" (sp?)
What also surprises me is that the children survived my anger. One time I was so mad that I knew that if I touched them they might not survive. I told the 2 boys that I was going to pray about their punishment. I went to my room for a while. I had no revelation. After a time I came out and opened my mouth and all of a sudden I heard myself meet out the punishment of doing kind things for each other. Maybe I should pray more often instead of striking. Maybe there is hope for me yet. Now aren't you sorry you asked.