Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Sticky Predicament

I'm not sure which part of my instructions he had trouble understanding.

All day, as my son chomped on his new gum, I kept reminding him, "In your mouth or in the trash can."

But the temptation to try to blow bubbles, stick the piece to his nose, or see just how far he could stretch it with his fingers was just too great.

The first piece of gum was ordered into the trash.

Several hours later, he convinced me that he could handle the responsiblity of chewing...just chewing... a second piece.

You know, NONE of my friends allow their own three-year olds to chew bubble gum.

So when Drew walked out of my bedroom yesterday afternoon with a web of sticky orange goo connecting his hair, hands, mouth, shorts, and knees together, I saluted the collective wisdom of my friends.

And then I started fussing.

"Look at you!"
"How am I supposed to get this off of you?"
"Did you get gum on my bed. So help me, there better not be gum on my bed, son!"
"Why did you do this?"

Twenty minutes later, as the shower water continued to fall on his sticky little body and the gum held on despite my best scrubbing efforts, I chose his punishment. No gum for three days. Trust me, it made much more sense than the 14 options that came to mind first.

I have a hard time choosing consequences for my kid. How about you? It would be so easy to continually put him in a time-out for every infraction. But he's getting savvy, which means the punishment must fit the crime a little more closely these days.

So, poor choices about gum = no gum
Failure to put away toys = failure to be able to play with said toys the next day
Not eating what mommy makes for dinner = not eating dessert later

And sometimes, this puts me in a sticky kind of predicament. It makes me pause before I punish. It makes me think about what kind of lesson I want my child to learn when he makes choices (both good and bad ones). And it just takes more work, quite frankly.

So... I'm putting this out there to you today. Leave a comment and let me know about a time when you were able to creatively discipline your child according to the situation. I'm looking for good ideas.

Kinda like the time my sister slammed her bedroom door when she was a teenager. My mom subsequently removed the door from it's hinges for a week. I don't think another door was slammed by any of us throughout the rest of our teenage years.

So, go ahead. Give me some good ideas for the next time my little man of mischief gets himself into a sticky situation!

1 comment:

Surviving 4 said...

Oh, girl. I don't know if I can offer ANY words of wisdom here, b/c I am in the same boat, my friend! In fact, I spend so much time overanalyzing what the appropriate punishment should be that I'm paralyzed; and the moment passes without punishment! The only thought I have is my current experiment with "sassy sauce" - 2 drops of Tabasco on the tongue for mouthing off. After 1 full minute, they can have a glass of milk. Seems to work so far, b/c as all my girls will tell you, "Sassy sauce is gwoss!"