Friday, January 9, 2009

tough love

Yeah, we know, we brought it on ourselves. With the holidays and the puke a la palooza festival, combined with crummy weather and time off from school we are all a bit frazzled in my house. This is my excuse.

We have been pretty lax lately around here. Children who act out are spoken to, running inside is warned against, and the kids have had the privilege of their own tv for movies. We did not wind up with 2 children grateful and appreciative of the relaxation of the rules of our house. No one said, hey thanks momma, for giving me a break when I was sick, I really needed that.

So The Husband and I have been discussing the behavior of our children and how it has come to be that both girls have a charmless similarity to Veruca Salt (from Willy Wonka movie see We do not want demanding and out of control children, we want nice ones. We decided to give the old 'token economy' technique a try. The Husband and I are reasonably compatible when it comes to rules in the house. We agree on the big things and most of the small things. Where we run into problems is in the what to do about it. Then we bicker back and forth while the offending child smirks and tries to slither away unnoticed. So I have been making an effort to not jump in when The Husband takes a stand. His method is to talk to the child until her ears actually fall off, then she has to pick them up off the floor and go to a time out. My method, known as Bribe and Threaten Parenting is more direct It goes like this:
"knock that off right now or you are going to time out" only you have to imagine my voice sounds like a shrill blender with ice cubes in it after repeating myself 400 times. I admit to having been less than consistent.

Anyway, we have agreed that both of our children are smart little girls who know what the rules are, and know what they should be doing. They also have no auditory disturbances or blockage, therefore there is no excuse for not listening. We have concluded that our children are deliberately ignoring us and doing whatever they want.

Coincidentally, late this afternoon Genea had put on a movie on their little tv and it was not working. The Husband administered his techo- o- geek proficiency to the problem and discovered that their movies had fingerprints and scratches all over them and they have not been putting them away, they have been stacking them together naked. We decided immediately to suspend their movie watching. When they cried and made lame excuses, we decided to take away all the toys that had batteries. All the little things that make noise and move around or dance, gone. Until we decide what nasty chores they will need to do to get them back. And then, they are going to need to earn the movies back and earn the ability to watch one as well. So we are tightening up! Implementing Tough Love! Much hysteria and crying ensued! The trauma! The sadness! The pant load of crap!

I put all of their little electronic toys in a cardboard box and left it where they can see it (no use them forgetting about the stuff). I went in to the kitchen to open a bag of pizza puffs to go in the toaster oven. Oh yeah, and I cooked beans too. Unloading the dishwasher. I hear the girls going back and forth. Genea in particular has a hard time getting herself something to do. Teena can spend an hour telling a story to her fork, Genea needs more direction and concrete ideas or she will pace back and forth. I can hear The Husband getting on them to find something to do or play with, then comes the tough love. He says, in a punishing tone, meant to convey the seriousness of his message and his frustration too, ''girls, stop crying and go watch TV until we decide you can behave''. Sigh. We have some work to do.


  1. I feel your pain. My boys pull the same crap with me. Just tonight, Phillip was pacing around, whining, what can I do? I suggested, emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, sweeping the floor, or my all time favorite, picking up dog crap in 20degree weather. Amazingly, he decided that coloring or reading a book would be great fun. Go figure!

  2. I am with Christy. I think everyone should have a dog, if only to use them to threaten their children that they will have to pick up feces if they are bored.

  3. No bored or whiney around my house either. There's a list on the fridge expressly for that reason. Please feel free to go pick one out sweetie.

    You are too funny!!! I needed the giggles. Whew! Think I'm going to make it now. :-)

  4. Great idea! We do have 2 cats that are like little old men. They are both 12-13 years old, and getting their poop in the litter box appear to not be a priority, lol.

  5. ROFL! I am TOTALLY laughing at your writing style and sense of humor. The humor part is a bit like mine; dry and with a lil' hint of sarcasm, lol. Taking away the noisy toys? BRILLIANT! Why didn't I think of that? We had to ban one from BINGO tonight (for yelling it out without clue one what she was doing; we think she just liked the sound of her own voice expressing a power word). She sulked off to bed, threatening, "I'm not gonna play PLINKO tomorrow night either." Oh, the inhumanity.

  6. "the pant load of crap".

    i smell it way down here in ar, too. bummer.

    thanks for a well needed laugh, and for yet another moment of i-know-this-life. the path is just much easier when you know other parents are on it. and that someone else relaxed a little and let children have sugar and too much indulging over the holidays. there is another non-perfect parent out there? thanks for being "that" mom. now... back on the band wagon we go!

  7. oh dear! never mind...i am sure that they were delighted!


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