Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Today I am reminded about how important it is in our household not to be vague. We try to be very specific when we instruct or discipline our children. This is partly due to the stunts that my husband and I remember being pulled in our childhood. My brother and I were very logical and used to think about the wording of punishments to see how we could manipulate them but not disobey. For example: When I was about 12, I got into trouble for coming home late. My mom punished me and said I could not go play with my friends since I could not not keep track of time. I took that to mean I could not go to their houses so I proceeded to play with my friends in my yard. I know that she probably meant that I was not supposed to play with them at all but she was not specific and so I chose to use that to my advantage, my poor mother (just as a side note, I have apologized countless times for my behavior growing up.) Well, it is now coming full circle. I just told one of my children to go sit on his bed until I called for him and if I saw him playing with one toy (Their bedroom and playroom are one in the same now.) his hand would get spanked along with his bottom. (Trust me, it has been a long day/week/month.) My husband quickly called out, "And she did not ONLY mean you cannot play with one toy. You cannot play with any toy or toys." I smiled to myself as I realized the now obvious ambiguousness of my statement. I knew if I was said child I would have reasoned my antics away by stating, "I did not disobey. I did not play with one toy but with toys." The joys of raising reasoning, logical children. Thankfully my husband was there to immediately clarify.