Sometimes as a mother I believe the hardest thing you have to do is punish your children. What a crazy concept right?
As a child you are sure of your parentals enjoyment of such times. You just know that they derive some sort of sick and twisted pleasure in restricting you, taking away your toys and making you do your chores over and over to reach "their" standards. As you sit in your room waiting for you dad to get home from work, your perturbed certainty in your mother's deliberate intent to turn your father against you is all you can think, as you wait for your mothers words to play out "Just wait for your dad to get home". What torture, what cruel and unusual punishment this woman known as your mother has bestowed upon you.
As a parent myself, I have come to learn that it is just not so! Punishment, the arguments, the constant battles and hollering is not the part in which a parent derives pleasure. Not only is it embarrassing in public, but as a parent I can also say its a complete nuisance! It is in fact the complete opposite for the parent then it is for the child. As, a parent you are confident your child is just being insubordinate to irk you, their wild, uncontrollable manner is simply a act of known defiance done only to be a thorn in your side. Its as though they wake with the thought "what can I do to bother my mom/dad today".
So then as the parent you are left with no choice but to punish the child for their mutinous behavior. I am not talking about the small punishments, like sitting in the corner or not getting dessert. Those are a done almost out of monotonous rhythm at this point in parenting. I am talking the big stuff. The punishments that only come after numerous warnings, countless chances, and the never ending parade of tantrums.
The problem? Those punishments always seem to punish me, too. And, frankly (said in my whiniest voice while stomping my feet,) it’s just not fair.
Let’s review the punishments that really get to my children:
• Cancelling play-dates: Not only do I look like a dick to the other parent, but I then have to deal with annoying children complaining of nothing to do all afternoon and I have to entertain them.
• Not attending birthday parties: Again, I look like a complete jerk backing out and I’m already out the gift, plus I have to make lunch.
• Going to bed early: So I need to listen to screaming and crying for hours? That makes for a relaxing night.
• Going to bed without dinner: OK, so I’ve never done it, but I would without a doubt end up stressing all night that they are malnourished or dehydrated and that I am the sole cause.
• Turning around the car mid-trip: Are you kidding? After strapping the kids in, packing everything up, and schlepping somewhere I’m supposed to just turn around? Does anyone actually do this?
• Taking away TV time: The only time that my children are ever peaceful and quiet is during the hour when they watch television. I am not about to give that up.
So, what does that leave me? Time-outs? Pfft. I’d kill for a time out, myself. It doesn’t seem like much of a threat. Time in their toy-filled rooms? Nah…
Its a constant battle of wits and I am not at all positive from time to time who is winning and who is losing...
This is why I say, the hardest part of being a parent is punishment, it seems you go from your parent punishing you to your yourself getting punished when you're punish your children, what a odd turn of events!
In the words of Ed Asner "Raising kids is part joy and part guerrilla warfare."
So to this I say "Yay for joy, yay for guerrilla warfare and yay till later!