What it was like back then.
Parents and kids of this generation are so different from when I grew up. The majority of tactics and methods my parents used on me, cannot be used now. Children were to be seen and not heard. We had genuine fear in our heart of our parents, we never sat down amongst grown folks conversation, in fact our parents rarely ever sat down to talk to us about anything unless we were in trouble and it was time for a lecture.
We played outside on our own, exploring and adventuring until the street lights came on, and we knew if we stepped foot in the house anytime before that we would have to stay inside! Getting a spanking when we misbehaved or were disrespectful was normal + expected, and we wore whatever clothes our parents bought daring not complain. We had few choices (compared to kids today) manners were mandatory, we ate brussel sprouts or didn’t eat at all, and the internet wasn’t invented until we were teenagers, but guess what, we all survived.
What it’s like now
Fast forward to today and the world is a totally different place. Over time society and our own desires to improve on what we saw as flaws in our parents parenting have encouraged us to be more present, overly protective, more involved, (like too involved) but also more loving, engaged and building more genuine relationships with our kids.
The result of this shift in my opinion has led to both pros and cons, but the list of cons seems way longer. We have created a generation of kids who are more entitled, less independent, and don’t really have fears of their parents. They think we owe them everything and easily walk the borderline of disrespect one time too many, yet spankings are now against the law. Parents are considered friends and equals, the list of choices kids have are over abundant and while we certainly have stronger bonds with them, I feel like we are also on this slippery slope of uncertainty regarding who’s in charge!
Or maybe all this is only happening at my house? A few months ago I realized that the attachment style of parenting I opted for with my kids as babies, leads to more child led parenting as they get older. How did I not catch that or realize at some point I needed to make a switch. I caught myself one day asking my kids questions and giving them choices that they by no means need to be making for themselves.
I also found that the only forms of punishment they were receiving was lecturing and grounding. Both of which I found to be highly ineffective because I was repeating myself continuously. I needed to do something different, and get creative even, but how?
The Experts Say…
I read around the net that the key to getting a change in behavior from kids is giving them consequences they care about. Taking away TV time from a kid who doesn’t care about TV will be ineffective. But in the age of electronics EVERYTHING, taking away internet access from a kid of any age will have almost all of them going through withdrawal symptoms.
I also learned however that any consequence overused becomes ineffective over time. Kids are resilient and adaptable so they adjust easily. If taking away their phone is always your go-to no matter the offense, they will adjust and start to not care about receiving the consequence (therefore they won’t avoid the offense much longer either)
In my mind I think I run a pretty tight ship when it comes to parenting, but I can definitely see where things can tighten up as well. Recently I was faced with an offense that I repeated myself on one too many times. A steady rule we’ve always had living in NY and now in CLT is no eating in your bedroom, but one of our kids keeps breaking this rule. Not blantantly in our faces, but we find the evidence after the fact. Bowls in the corner, bottles or wrappers in the wastepaper basket… I needed to teach her a lesson and let her know I am serious about this rule, no compromise.
We already tried the, this house is awesome, we’re so blessed to live here in such a beautiful space. We should take care of it/appreciating it approach to no avail. So after having her clear out her misdeeds. I simply banned her from her room….. for a week.
You don’t want to respect my no eating rule in your room? Then you can’t have your room. She was allowed to sleep in it at night, but after school or during the day on the weekend? Sorry, no hanging out in your room, sit in the living room, dining room or kitchen.
The result? Super effective for a kid who LOVES to be holed up in her room to begin with. She actually cried and apologized. I still kept the punishment in effect, but I’m glad to know it made an impact!
Other creative punishments I’ve done? For the kid who constantly leaves her clothes on their floor? I made her wear a uniform to school for a week. The kids who’s toys are never put away? I had them pack them all up into a trash bag and for the kid who wrote on the wall? First you clean it, then you write. Since you like to write, write, I will not write on the walls, 100 times.
What kind of creative punishments have you given your kids? Share them in the comments below!