Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crime, meet punishment

There's always a few weeks every summer that are challenging.

I'm trying to get things done, and the boys just aren't getting along.

Last year, it was the first two weeks of summer (trying to transition A. home from school), but this year....

it's now.

Only last year, I could still refer to C. as a baby.

"Be careful!  He's still a baby!"

"Be patient!  He's a baby, we need to teach him these things...he doesn't just know them."

This year, with a 4 year old birthday looming, I cannot use the "baby" line.

So, I take a line from a Jodi Picoult book:

"Take care of your brother, he's the only one you've got."

I'm learning that this is only effective the first 40 times you say it.

(Or, perhaps its totally ineffective given that I've had to say it 40 times!)

So, the other day, A. pushed C. which resulted in a GIANT black goose egg on the side of C's head.


Granted, A. didn't mean to hurt his head like that.

But, he did mean to push his brother.  Hard.

At first, I saw a flash of white- I was sooo angry with my son for his actions.

So, I bit my tongue until the anger subsided.

Over an hour later.

After I prayed for discernment, I decided to match the punishment with the crime.

He showed anger with his hands.

Hands are not for showing anger.

So, A. had to come up with a list of 10 things he could do to show love with his hands.

10 things to show love to his brother.

I got to choose the first one.

Here's his list:
1.  (My choice) Give a hug
2.  Make C's bed and mark it off on his commission list.
3.  Feed Molly for C. and mark it off on his commission list.
4.  Clear C's plate, cup and silverware from the dinner table.
5.  Let C. play the wii for the entire 1/2 hour.
6.  Give C. something.
7.  Push C. on the swing.
8.  Clean up all the toys tonight.
9.  Let C. pick the show during TV time.
10. (My choice again) Say a prayer with and for C.

I think he thought of a pretty good list!  He couldn't think of a #10, so he left it up to me.  Which surprised me only because he already saw what I put for #1, and threw a FIT about hugging his brother.

The prayer was short.  Very short. was a start.

There's only been one other offense with hands during the past few days, and since it was only minor , so the list was only 5 items long (the first one I chose....which, again, was a hug.)

Is this a solution? 

It is for now.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I so love that idea! I think it's a little beyond my 3 year old but I'm going to file it away.

Also, I love how so much in parenting comes down to your last two sentences...there isn't a formula that will work every single time but the "for now" is often good enough.

mrsmarkdave said...

I agree that was a good list.
And I think your idea was appropriate. Way to turn it into a teaching moment.

Anonymous said...

Yet another reason why you are a marvelous parent! I'm going to just steal this list for Liam's use :)

Big Fat Gini said...

Now that is excellent parenting. Boys need that kind of loving hand. Great job, mama! Hope that goose egg is healing quickly.

Kathy said...

This is SOOO great Sandy. I too am stashing this away for future use. What a great lesson for A. You get a big shiny gold mommy star for the day, friend. Love you!! :)

Sandra Tyler said...

From one Sandy to another, and also with two boys I empathize! And try all the same tactics. when they fight I remind them that they're stuck with each other for life so the might as well get along. For some reason, this only inspires blank stares. And as to getting things done in the summer? I just tell them they're on their own, and if they're bored, deal with it!