When the SH*T hits YOUR Hairbrush and Other Parenting Insanities

It was an adventure like no other, y'know?

Sigh….

Yes indeed, Mama Bear was happily ensconced in her bathroom, pulling on her karate gi and otherwise making sure her outwards persona didn't frighten small impressionable children (immediately, that is).

Life was joyous!  Glorious!  All that remained was that MamaBear had to brush out her long luxurious golden locks of shining womanly magnificence hair.   She casually reached a paw out for the Hair Care Tool of Tremendousness when all of a sudden she realized:

The Hair Care Tool of Tremendousness!  It wasn't there!

Now, this in of and by itself wasn't too baffling; HS2 often took my hairbrush whenever emergencies arose like His Little Pony needed her mane brushed (speaking of which, allow me to amuse with you with some My Little Pony Physics, might I?

Thank you very much, we now return you to our regular broadcasting).

Where was I?

Oh yes! 

My invisibility-cloaked hairbrush.

So!  I called over HS2 and gently inquired, to where did you abscond with my brush?  And he happily said, okay Mom, I know where it is, let me get it for you.

And several minutes passed.

And more minutes passed.  Idly, I took note that someone in the kitchen had just started running the sink water.

HS2 then bounced back into my bathroom with my hairbrush, freshly scrubbed!

Ummmmm….wait a sec.

Just why on earth…..should my hairbrush be freshly scrubbed????

So before I started brushing my hair, I asked HS2, what were you doing with my brush?

And he said (and truly, I hope you're sitting down right now *without* having any sort of expellable beverage in your mouth):

"Well mom, I have a little story for you (he really did start it out that way).  HS1 asked me to help clean up the moose plop in our office (translation – the dogs pooped on the floor) and I needed a brush!  I couldn't find one, so I used yours instead."

I believe that at that exact moment, time stood still so luckily… I was unable to instantly react.

Gotta love time freezes!

After a few years, logic and consciousness re-entered my soul, and I got really really quiet as I asked him,

"Do you really think Mom's hairbrush is the best tool to clean up moose excrement?"

Unlike many parents, I generally don't scream or yell; my kids know that the quieter Mom gets, the more trouble they're in.

By this time, HS2 was aware of how utterly wrong his actions were.  When I asked him just why on earth he thought this was a Good Thing, he said:

"I just got carried away Mom and really wanted to clean things up, so I didn't think."

Then he said,

"Mom, I just don't think I deserve being a Ling right now.  You can give me any consequence you want, you can take away my office, you can make make me miss the school trip tomorrow that I really want to go on!"

And he was totally sincere.

Gentle reader, imagine my dilemma right about then.

  • HS2 was being honest with me
  • He was willing to accept any and all consequences.

How the *Hell* could I punish him for using my brush as he did?

Taking a deep breath, I counted to 10. 

In Klingon.

Then I counted to 10 again.

This time in Wookie(that was much easier, btw).

Then I said,

"Okay, you're being honest so I cannot fault you for that!  However, there are lots of ways you could have handled it – I want you to now write me a story.  The first paragraph is what you did, the second paragraph will be why you did it, and the third paragraph will be what you could have done differently and will do differently in the future."

Drying up his tears, HS2 scampered off to his computer, wrote up his story and printed it out.

The end result?

His consequences was to do both his chores and HS1's chores for the next few days.  But…I made darned certain to praise him to the skies for both his honesty and the way he handled getting into trouble.

Seriously. 

HS2 is only 8.5 years old.  But his ability now to look at actions and consequences….wow.  There's been so much improvement!!

And me?

After HS2 left my bedroom, I was sitting on the bed with the most dazed expression on my face.  HD1 walked in, and said "Mom, you look like heck."  I responded, "You have no idea what just happened….let me fill you in."

Her reaction?

"Mom, this is yet another reason why I'm never having kids."

:)  Plus, she tickled me and commiserated with me.  Woot to HD1!

So…..

The next time you hear the phrase, the sh*t hits the fan, remember.

It's much easier to clean up there…than in your hairbrush.

Trust me.  I know.  :)

Parent well,

MamaBear

Time-Outs Are Just Plain Stupid

Every time I hear a parent telling their child, "you're going to be in (gasp!) TIME OUT!", I cringe.

What an incredibly stupid idea.

I mean, just consider what exactly a time-out does.

I think some parents have this blissful idea that children will think on their transgressions and realize quite how wrong their actions were.

HAH!

For most kids, a time-out means they can use their fiendishly clever mind to think of exciting scenarios and action ideas to consider…once they're freed from their "thinking spot."

Like *that's* a huge punishment. 

Uh huh!

Errr…Mamabear doesn't think so.  Whatsoever.

Instead, Mamabear recognizes that consequences have to compel positive responses.

Giving kids the opportunity to "think" without any concrete results…is a big huge flapping waste of time.

Instead, Mamabear has several much more effective ways to punish her children.  Here are 2 brief ideas.

Write down what *should* have been done instead

Sometimes kids act out because of frustration, anger, pity or the like.

Their feelings are extremely valid…but they have to learn that in today's society, that behavior will get them stomped on by people who are either stronger or in a position of power.

So, Mamabear has her kid write down:

  • What happened to lead up to the action
  • What happened during the action
  • What happened after the action

and then

  • What could have been done differently to get the point across

It's astonishing how much thought kids will put into, "Gee, I could have done *this* different or *that* different etc."

This is an academic consequences – the child ges to improve his or her writing skills and also learns how to put down thoughts on paper.  It's a very valuable skill later on in life!

52 card pickup

Sometimes, though, a consequence has be hugely painful to make an impression.

Back when Mamabear was growing up, there was nothing wrong with spankings.  It makes sense, actually – piss someone off enough and suffer the consequences from another person stronger than you.

It happens in the school yard, it happens in college, it happens in the workplace.

Hell, it's just plain *life*.

But if you dislike the idea of spankings, you can institute 52 Card Pickup…in which you drop an entire deck of cards on the floor and have the kid pick them up.

17 times.

Or, you simply continue until the point has been made.

Make sure you explain what's going on. 

"You chose to hit your brother because you were angry.  Great!  Wonderful!  So I'm now choosing to make you do something really annoying because *I'm* angry.  Doesn't feel so good, does it?"

Always remember to make the kid repeat back why it's happening – this way you *know* the lesson is being heard.

Received well, perhaps not!  But that will simply take time in the future.

In closing, MamaBear simply *knows* that punishment is futile unless the lesson is learned.  Time-outs don't showcase learning; writing does.  Talking does.  Making restitution….does.

So you do it too.

Parent well,

MamaBear

Free Lined Paper!

Does your kid ever run out of paper?

Did you know you can print lined paper for free?

HB2 just finished choosing to do a half-buttocked performance on his kitchen chores, so MamaBear decided that a useful consequence would be to write these three paragraphs.

  • What he did wrong.
  • Why he chose to do it wrong
  • What he will do in the future

Thing is, though, HB2 couldn't find any spare lined paper to use!  Not to fear, however, MamaBear discovered these useful sites.

A quick download of the pdf….and voila, lined paper was born so Honorable Boy 2 could complete his consequence.

It worked out rather grand, MB must say.

Be sure to take advantage of it yourself!

Parent well,

MamaBear