So tonight after many frustrating attempts to get Cooper to take off his clothes and get in the bath (of course, each request got just a smidge louder and more stern), I offered the threat under haste that I promised I wouldn't do anymore...."Cooper, get your clothes off and get in the bath right now....or .... (wait for it)....I am going to spank you!" The words just hung there in the air for a moment. I was so hoping he would follow through with his part because I knew for sure that I was not going to be able to follow through with my part. Inside I could hear little voices cheering him on, "C'mon Cooper! You can do it! Go put your clothes away! C'mon Cooper!".
I couldn't believe it.....he jumped off the chair, ran into his room, took off his clothes and put them in his dirty clothes basket. It actually worked. I took a huge sigh of relief, which really only lasted a minute because I then moved instantly into mommy guilt. However, this is only where the story begins because the real kicker is what happened next. As Cooper went skipping past me to the bathroom he said, "Mommy if you gave me a spanking I would've given you a kiss." Hmm? I asked him to repeat it for me. "Mommy if you gave me a spanking I would've given you a kiss." So I asked him why he would kiss me after I gave him a spanking. His answer was quick and to the point as he went skipping through the house and I hope it's one I that will never forget. He said in full confidence, "I would kiss you to make you feel better because you would've been really sad if you had to spank me." And off he went to the bath. Gotta love that kid. I often overlook just how sweet, loving and incredibly smart he can be.
He's right, I would've been crushed! Crushed that I spanked him, crushed because I wasn't parenting or teaching but rather responding in anger, crushed because I didn't know what to do or how to be the parent I needed to be in that moment. Ugh! I wish I had a quick solution; however, it only takes me back to the same idea we have danced around and only mentioned in passing for the last 7 years: WE NEED A FAMILY VISION STATEMENT.
It looks like Blane and I now have a summer project and if I do say so myself, the sooner the better. I know that the frame work of a vision statement will help set boundaries and expectations for the entire family. Does the behavior fall in line with the realistic expectation placed on them? Expectations placed on us as parents? Does the punishment really best "fit the crime" or was I just reacting rather than responding? Does this extracurricular activity fall within the vision of our family or is it just another item that only leads to the business of life? All interesting things to ponder.We'll see how this works itself out this summer.
For now though, here's a great starting place. I recently read an article about "rules vs. ruling". I also saw the same concept in place at a friends home (thank you Mary for letting me share - see picture below).
Expectations for the home:
Reasons for Disciplining:
Love it! Simple and something we can all remember at a quick glance. It doesn't call for raised voices (I will need a little ear piece to remind me of that when I am breaking up a sibling quarrel tomorrow) or even great lengthy debates. I would love to hear if any of you have disciplining ideas or even better...do you have a family vision statement? Churches have them, shouldn't we if we are going to "raise them in the way they should go" (Proverbs 22:6).
*quick note: I actually wrote this blog a few days ago; however, I knew all of you would appreciate this little addition. We were driving home after celebrating Parker's last day of school on Thursday when Cooper said, "This is a good day Mommy. A real Good day. You haven't even had to yell at us!". Out of the mouth of babes! Not to worry - just one more reason for Blane and I to start our summer assignment ASAP. Hopefully this summer there will be more intentional days filled with less yelling.
Summer here we come! Happy Summer everyone!!