Do you ever find it hard to come up with appropriate punishments for your children? Do you ever feel like you've overreacted so badly that you're embarrassed about what you've done? Have you ever realized that a punishment you've given was, in fact, more punishment for you than any of the children?
Recently while visiting with my brother, my nephew was caught using his phone for less than appropriate things, for a boy of his age!….Actually, it was fairly normal for his age, but punishable for sure! I didnt know his dad had already punished him, when I asked about his plans for his upcoming birthday. He shrugged at me, in his new 12 year old cool way, before telling me he didn't know exactly what he was doing, but he knew that it wasn't going to be fun, because he's grounded from his phone!
After reiterating to him that what he had done was foolish, I asked him for how long he was grounded. He said flippantly “FOREVER”!
I immediately started laughing! Obviously this was a punishment made before calming ones self all the way down. I've been there myself! I told him that this situation didnt even make sense….FOREVER?!
My nephew smiled, shrugged, and said “Well, that's what he said”!
Knowing my brother always follows through with what he says, I was wondering how he was going to tweak this punishment to seem more rational, after he calmed. I would have loved to have hung out, to see how he was going to turn the punishment around in some way……. Watching him claim to have said something similar, but entirely different, and then make the child look foolish in the long run! Like I said, I've been there before!
In recent times, during my extremely Labile mood swings, I have noticed myself reacting in an agitated, quick fashion….more than I normally do! Things that have slightly irritated me all along, have on occasion, become almost unbearable!
We have a snack cabinet in our laundry area. It's filled with a variety of items that the kids pack in their lunches. Every day they make their lunches, and every day after they leave, there are boxes of snacks and trash all over the floor, outside the cabinet. As a side note, there is a trash receptacle right next to it! This really irritates me, mainly because I never notice it until after they've left for school! Usually, I save it for when they get home, I make them pick it up, and then I lecture them for a half hour about how I'm not their maid servant! This time though, I caught it in the morning….a time when I am even grouchier than normal!
I made them clean it up immediately! All the while, I was ranting and flailing my arms, asking “Just who do you think you are”? They are so used to my carrying on, that I rarely get a rise out of them. Instead I got EYE ROLLS!! That was it for me….they had gone too far! I said very sternly “If I see one scrap of trash on that floor, on the outside of that cabinet again….er…uh…you will….uh…..
“YOU WILL NOT ONLY CLEAN AND ORGANIZE THAT CABINET, BUT YOU WILL CLEAN AND ORGANIZE EVERY CABINET IN THE ENTIRE HOUSE……EVERY DAY”!
I am an idiot! We all are when we act without thinking….Still, we keep making fools of ourselves. Now, everytime I see food outside of that cabinet, I HAVE to clean it up! Otherwise, I will have to endure them pulling out all the items in every cabinet in my home!
The next thing that's high on my irritation list is the floating waste that's left in my toilets! It's not so much that they forget to flush that irritates me. Its the fact that there is never any toilet paper floating with it! Three of my four children are guilty of this on occasion! Usually, I line them all up, asking who didnt clean their nethers! They usually all deny it at first, but can't bear my lecturing another minute, and one will eventually give in! I then send them in for a long overdue wipe, even though their underwear has surely caught whatever remained! It's the point!!! I will admit though, that at times I have become so irritated by this, that I have lost my marbles!
At the ages of 10, 10, and 7, I feel that this conversation shouldn't have to happen more than once…twice tops! One day, when I had them all lined up with their heads down in shame, and with them all in denial, I said “Well, I don't know what else to do! I guess I'm going to have to go into the bathroom with you guys every time! I need to make sure you're cleaning up shop! If not, I guess I'll have to help”!
They were mortified, and after I chilled out, so was I? I couldn't follow through with this! Who has that much time in a day…those children use the bathroom constantly! Plus, I was not wiping ANY of these children….. I've seen the size of what's left behind! Yet….I looked foolish again! So now, I have to just flush the toilet for them, and hope that one of their friends will humiliate them in the gym locker room!
Lastly in my rant, it's the urine on the boys toilet seat! I've made them clean the toilet, threatened to make them clean the bathroom daily, and make them clean the seat every time I see a dot I'm about to sit on! It doesn't work! One day I'd grown tired of sitting, unsuspectingly, on another persons urine! I lined the boys up again to tell them “The next time I sit down, and my backside gets wet, because you didnt wipe off the seat….I am going to urinate on the seat and have you sit on it”!
Sadly, this last story actually came true!!!! You gotta follow through!