I try to give my kids everything I can. When they’re not in school we go all kinds of places, and on the weekends our schedules are usually jam-packed with awesomesauce. They absolutely love it, and I love seeing them enjoy life.
Though sometimes I feel like it’s all in vain. We spent a fun Autumn day going to the Farmers Market, a huge pumpkin patch, lunch out and more. They repaid us by being completely rotten. We teach them to be respectful, to say please and thank you, but they seem to forget to be thankful for the things that are a regular occurrence.
There are days when their behavior is just too much for me. I try time outs, taking away privileges, even taking away toys, to no avail. My husband and I are mostly on the same page, though I do handle situations a little more calmly. This past week when the two older ones had nearly simultaneous melt downs just as we were about to head to the local pumpkin patch to use up the remainder of our ride tickets, I called my husband for some help. I explained the situtation and that I had made them get back in the car and was revoking their pumpkin patch privelige. Then he made a suggestion.
“Why don’t we still take them to the pumpkin patch and make them give their tickets away to kids who are behaving?”
So that’s what we did. We walked through the pumpkin patch and had the boys observe other children. They each picked out a little girl who was behaving well and handed over their tickets. We explained to the other people why, because we wanted to make sure the lesson stuck with our children. Surprisingly, they didn’t whine or cry or anything. And they seemed almost pleased to give away their tickets and make another child happy. But despite everything, it seemed to have worked, and their demeanor changed in a good way.
Later I wondered if what we did was akin to public humiliation, which seems to be big in the news lately. Was it embarrassing to make them tell another that they were in trouble for misbehaving? They embarrass me in public with their behavior all of the time. Is that the same thing? Despite my later insecurities on the situation I think it worked out well, and I am definitely seeing an improvement in attitude. Especially when we drive past that pumpkin patch. I don’t think it will haunt them for the rest of their life, but I do think they’ll think twice before they act.
Have you ever embarrassed your child to make a point? What are your thoughts on punishing your child in public?