The other night at gymnastics I watched Wren hit her coach. I immediately said, “OOOHHHH Gary I just saw her hit Coach Ruth.” Then I saw her hit another little boy in her class. They were on the other side of the gym, but my stalker skills allowed me to see Coach Ruth take her over to the little boy to apologize.
After class was over she was the first one off the mats and I asked her, “Wren, did you hit Coach Ruth?” “No,” she said with a super serious face. “Are you sure?” I asked.
Coach Ruth comes out and I ask her and cowardly Coach Ruth answers, “Yes, but it’s ok.” I said, “No, it’s not ok she doesn’t need to hit. Wren tell Coach Ruth you’re sorry.” “NO!” she exclaims. “Wren, tell Coach Ruth you’re sorry or I’m going to take you to the bathroom and give you a spanking,” I reply. “NO!” she exclaims.
I knew as soon as I made that threat if she wasn’t willing to give up her “I’m sorry” I was going to have to take her to the bathroom. Now, once in the bathroom where nobody can see us is where the true discipline, or lack thereof, occurs. I didn’t want to spank her. I hate spanking her. It’s not fun. I don’t like it, but I know that if I don’t follow through with the threat she will learn that about me. So I spank her. Not hard. Just enough for her to know that I’m serious when I say something. She whimpers a little bit and then says, “I want to go potty.”
Any mother who might be in the midst of potty training or their child is just interested in the potty you know that when the kid asks to go potty you normally drop everything to take them, well not this time. I said, “No, you can’t go potty until you can apologize to Coach Ruth.” Was that the wrong move? Was that something I shouldn’t have used as part of my discipline? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I didn’t want her to forget the reason we came into the bathroom in the first place.
“I want water!” She yelled. “No, you can’t have any water until you apologize to Coach Ruth,” I replied, “we are going to stand right here until you are ready to apologize for hitting Coach Ruth because we don’t hit.”
She finally dries it up and apologizes and Coach Ruth in her sweet voice says, “It’s ok Wren,” as she rubs the side of her head. Before we left the conversation I made sure with Coach Ruth that Wren, in fact, did apologize to the little boy for hitting him too. Wren and I discussed it on the way out to the car how hitting isn’t kind and we don’t need to hit people.
So, let’s chat. There are several different ways we could go with this. We could talk about how the follow through is hard! We could talk about how spanking your child is hitting so how can I say we don’t hit and then I take her to the bathroom and spank her?
Let’s start with the spanking. I believe in spanking and I believe that at a young age kids understand the difference between hitting and spanking, but it sometimes still doesn’t sit right with me. However, as a child I don’t remember having a hard time differentiating the two. Maybe it’s because I don’t remember being two and hitting being a way I communicated. I remember getting spankings, but not because I hit someone. I know there are different parenting styles out there, but I want to hear from the spanking parents. Did you ever have a hard time spanking your child for hitting someone? Doesn’t it just seem contradictory?
Then the follow through. Man, is this hard. I could have very easily taken Wren into the bathroom and simply talked to her the whole time. I could have let her use the potty. I could have let her get a drink of water. And when I brought her back out to Coach Ruth she might have even still apologized, but because I told her that if she didn’t apologize I was going to take her into the bathroom and spank her I had to do it. I have to remember that if I’m going to threaten something I better be prepared to follow through. I think the follow through is the hardest part. You can threaten and threaten all day long, but if you never actually do what you threaten those kiddos are going to catch on and they are going to catch on quick!
So tell me your experiences. Was there ever a time you had to follow through with something you didn’t want to, but you had to because your kid needed to learn the lesson?