Friday, September 23, 2011

Parenting Techniques

Over on there have been a few threads that been about Parenting, including the one that start off with Parenting and letting your kids play with Toy Guns vs Real Guns.

Now one area the WINO(1) constantly argued about where what could be called parenting "techniques",  so here are I couple I used that would piss her off to no end.  She thought I was a lousy parent when I would use them, so I'm asking The Cancer Ward Brain Trust  for their opinion.

1) The "I'll laugh at you".  She thought this was simply horrible.  Generally it involved the child telling me their "plan".  I would explain the possible consequences (usually some type potential minor injury, a scrape or cut; perhaps merely wounded pride) along with the admonishment of "If you still decide to do "X", then if and when "Y" happens, I will laugh at you.  I'll have to use rubbing alcohol and the Mercurochrome to clean the wound and you know how much that stings and burns and I'll enjoy it. "  My wife thought it was horrible that my child could be standing there as a minor trickle of blood would be running down a knee or elbow, I would point, laugh and say I told you so, before going to get the rubbing alcohol, Mercurochrome and band-aids.  However, I have discovered that using this on my son has now dissuaded him from doing things now that will could cause injuries somewhat above and beyond a minor cut or scrape.  Not that I would laugh at him if he ever walked in with a broken bone, but he doesn't know that.(2)

2) "Wanna Bet?"  Over the years, when there has been a slight difference of opinion as to a potential outcome, I have given my kids the chance to prove either themselves or their theory but putting their money where their mouth is. The amount varies depending on their age and their confidence level in their position.  I do expect and demand to get paid off,  however my "winnings" are always plowed back to the kids in one form or another at a later date.  And I have only lost once. And that was when I bet my son $20 that he could not leave the souvenir B-29 we bought at the National Air & Space museum alone and in the box for a month.   He gave it to me and told me to hide it.  I told him "No" and put it, in the box, on a shelf in his room.  He went through hell that month.  The temptation was overpowering, but at the end of the month the box was still taped shut (it hadn't been tampered with, I checked) and I paid off.  It's a very nice toy and he learned the difference between toys you play with and toys you admire as it still sits on his shelf, aka "unplayed with"  (meaning he takes it down and looks at it, but he doesn't take and run through house and outside with it going "Zooooooommmmmmm, pew, pew, pew, pew" as he dive bombs his army men and then crashes it into the ground like he did the very nice P-47 I had got him a couple of years earlier.)   So again, when I look at my son and say "Wanna Bet?  Or "You willing put money on that?"  He really stops and thinks.  Actually he and my daughter stop and say "Never bet against Dad, he always wins. Except that one time!!!"  Again, he's re-considered his position and it generally causes a change in his course of action.

3) "I know what you're thinking"  I just look at him and say "I wasn't always 46.  I was ten once also.  I know you want to X, Y, and Z.  And if you do X, Y and Z I will do to you what Grandpa did you me, which was A, B, and C.  And if you don't think so, let's call him and he can tell you about it."  And yes, there have been some phone calls where Grandpa tells my son of how he used the Steak and Shake Yard Stick (which he still has and my son has seen) on my backside. My son normally leaves those phone calls looking like  shocked shocked and there's some comment of  "Grandpa was really mean".  To which I reply "Well, I was really dumb sometimes, learn from my mistakes."  And again, he is dissuaded from that/those course of action.

4) "Your Call" or "Sibling Justice"  Having grown up with 4 brothers and 2 sisters, there was some/a lot of "internal policing" and what I call "sibling justice". Like when I tell my son not to shoot his teenage sister (she's 7 years older) with Nerf Guns or Super Soakers.  "You can, but you'll have to survive the beatdown she'll give you when she catches you."  There has been a time or two when I heard my daughter scream my son's name, him hauling ass through the dining room and out the garage door with a Nerf Gun/SuperSoaker in one hand and a big o'l cheese-eating grin on his face, followed shortly thereafter by my extremely pissed off teenage daughter in hot pursuit.  My wife thought it was horrible when I would let them fight(3), but as long as closed fists weren't being used and it didn't get out of hand, I would let them settle things between them.  And generally an hour of less later they would be in one or the others rooms playing a cardgame, boardgame, or some-such together, peacefully.  Whereas if my wife tired to break them up, generally the matter would not be resolved and issue would continue to fester and boil with more yelling, slamming of doors and just all around unpleasantness for hours or even days. 

So what say you?

(1)  WINO=Wife In Name Only
(2) I tried one time to explain to the WINO, this bit of dialogue from Band of Brothers, she just looked at me like I had two heads:
CPT Ronald Spiers: What is it?
1SG Carwood Lipton: Nothing.
CPT Spiers: Well, I'd better get back to Battalion before they disappear. You want to ask me, don't you?
1SG Lipton: Ask you what, sir?
CPT Spiers: You want to know if they're true or not... the stories about me. Did you ever notice with stories like that, everyone says they heard it from someone who was there. But then when you ask *that* person, they say *they* heard it from someone who was there. It's nothing new, really. I bet if you went back two thousand years, you'd hear a couple of centurions standing around, yakking about how Tertius lopped off the heads of some Carthaginian prisoners.
1SG Lipton: Well, maybe they kept talking about it because they never heard Tertius deny it.
CPT Spiers: Well, maybe that's because Tertius knew there was some value to the men thinking he was the meanest, toughest son of a bitch in the whole Roman Legion.
[Turns to leave]
1SG Lipton: Sir? These men aren't really concerned about the stories. They're just glad to have you as our CO. They're happy to have a good leader again.
CPT Spiers: Well, from what I've heard, they've always had one. I've been told there's always been one man they could count on. Led them into the Bois Jacques, held them together when they had the crap shelled out of them in the woods. Every day, he kept their spirits up, kept the men focused, gave 'em direction... all the things a good combat leader does. You don't have any idea who I'm talking about, do you?
1SG Lipton: No, sir.
CPT Spiers: Hell, it was you, First Sergeant. Ever since Winters made Battalion, you've been the leader of Easy Company. Oh, and you're not going to be First Sergeant much longer, First Sergeant.
1SG Lipton: Sir?
CPT Spiers: Winters put you in for a battlefield commission, and Sink approved on your behalf. You should get the official notice in a few days. Congratulations, Lieutenant.
(3) It was really more "wrestling" and Robert could surprisingly hold his against Meghan own most times, when he got caught.  Simply because the chase ended when both were pretty winded and there wasn't much fight left in either.


  1. Consequences for actions. All of these fall under consequences for actions.

    We differ in the implementation details, but the general ideas are much the same. No coddling.

    As a result I have a great 15 year old boy.

    Case in point: He volunteered for something recently. The coordinator called him on the phone and my son talked about the event and his part in it. They exchanged a few ideas. When my son showed up at the event, the coordinator thought he was an adult (on the phone) and had planned an adult responsibility for him. My son just essentially said "bring it on" and in the end was getting compliments for his work.

    My wife and I believe strongly in NOT raising a child, but raising an adult. Treat your kid as the adult you want them to be.

  2. I like these. Having 2 girls with a big age gap has made sibling issues pretty nil so far as little one is still pretty little. I know that will change.

    One of our biggest things is we buy little things for them but once Bug was old enough to understand chores she was told that if she wants a special toy she has to earn the money for it. Drives her batty but she does it. I also make sure chores and school work is done before she can play. Responsibility before play. Another thing she hates. With Bug not letting her play and giving her chores for misdeeds does the trick. We are also very open. We don't hide much from our kids and we don't censor a lot unless their temperament needs it. Bug knows about sex and peer pressure and all sorts of things. We talk and she can ask questions any time. I am a big believer in being open. With drugs and sex entering their lives earlier and earlier I figure you have to be open and prepare them or they get blindsided and then you have a pregnant drugged up 13-year-old.

    I like your rules!!

  3. Lila- Thanks, like I said these a couple of "Techniques". I guess I should have started with some of my basic ground rules. I won't even get into "Chores" *sigh* I thought (and still do think) that the kids should have age appropriate chores (take out trash, unload the dishwasher, pick-up dog poop, etc.). The WINO thought I was a slave driver for asking the kids to do chores.
    *sigh*, but that's another blog post.

    North- You hit the nail on the head. I kept (and keep) telling her that our job as parents is to raise, disciplined, ethical, moral, and responsible adults.

  4. My daughters were raised this way- They turned out pretty good if I do say so myself... Growing up, we were pretty much on our own after about age 10, e.g. go play... Up to us to figure our how 'far' from home, etc. We survived, and only one kid accidentally shot himself with a .22 (because he forgot to clear the rifle after we left the shooting area. He got to walk home with a .22 hole through his calf, after we did the best bandaging we could (I think we were around 12 when that happened...

  5. I have 3 boys.

    1. I have said "You asked for it" as I put bandaids on. Mercurichrome? they still make that, huh? need to get some. makes the cut look so much worse.
    2. Wanna bet? I might try that.
    3. She thinks that stories from your childhood are bad parenting? hmmm
    4. Sibling justice? I have 3 boys. It's all about sibling justice.

    So, no, I don't think those are bad parenting techniques. I do yell at my DH when he tries to teach the 3 year old a lesson by perching him on top of the armoire. I know he still does it when I'm not home. Please don't call CPS on him, he's a good Dad most of the time.

  6. All goods tips, Dave. Sounds like you have more success than I do though with the three boys.

    Our guys are expected to clean on Saturdays (vacuum, dust, clean bathrooms) in exchange for not getting hassled for cash to go out with friends. They get paid for mowing the lawn and trimming with one caveat: If I ask more than three times..they get nothing and still have to do it. The Mrs refuses to clean their bathrooms anymore (get it..3 boys...even I wince sometimes.) She's made the two oldest start doing their laundry this summer. They whined they were out of jeans or something last week...she just looked and them and said "NMP (not my problem)".