Saturday, June 17, 2006

Don't count your chickens before they....

“What’s A.J. Doing?”

(“That’s five Alex.”)

“He’s punishing Alex.”

(“That’s six.”)

“I don’t get it.”

“It’s this new discipline method they’re trying out to get him to behave.”

(“Alex, that’s seven,”)


“No, every time he gets into trouble they tell him the number of toys they are taking away from him.”

(“That’s eight.”)

“What do you think?”

“I think he has too many toys.”

Watching your own kids trying to discipline their kids is… well… funny.

I was a lousy disciplinarian.

I only spanked my boys when they did something stupid enough to lose a limb, or when they would get into a fight with each other and weapons were involved.

Hey… we’re Italian.

So I get kind of a kick when my almost four year old grandson basically tells his dad to “pound sand.”

(“Alex, pick that up.”)

(“I don’t feel like it. If you feel like it, you pick it up.”)

(“That’s nine Alex.”)

I don’t know how you discipline kids today. The “time out” has never worked; my grandson can play with “air” for five hours.

“That’s it! You’re on a time out!!!”

“Uh… okay.”

I think “time outs” were invented by the same woman that created recreational soccer, bike helmets and self esteem.

We didn’t have self esteem and bike helmets when I was growing up.

We had natural selection.

I remember when I was sixteen and me and my middle brother and five of our friends sat in my “War Wagon” with the windows rolled up smoking cigars until “someone pussed out.”

We didn’t need to be disciplined.

Throwing up and gasping for air for five hours was discipline enough.

If we died…well… we would need to be disciplined anymore.

Like I said… Natural selection.

So how “do” you discipline a four year old today?

Good cop, bad cop?

I believe in the one good swat.

From their mother.

Well I wouldn’t want to be the bad cop.

I would pull that kid aside and say, “Look, I know what you're thinking.” Will she spank me six times or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I’d have to guess myself. But being as this is your mother, the toughest mom in the world, and could spank your ass clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

The other option and my personal favorite of course is trickery.

Lie to your children. It will prepare them for the real world so when they graduate with a degree in English or Psychology they can deal with false hope and rejection.

“Hey Alex, so you don’t want to pick up your toys. That’s too bad. But I understand… it is your choice. Your older brother made that choice.”

“I don’t have an older brother.”

“Well no… not anymore.”

So I’m sitting here watching my son counting all the toys he’s taking away from my grandson and I realize that this four year old has just outsmarted his father.

(“That’s eleven Alex.”)

“Um… A.J.”

“What dad? Don’t start with me dad.”

“Oh I’m not saying anything. He’s your son. Um… One quick note… Alex hasn’t picked anything up yet but I can’t help but notice that the number of toys left on the floor seems… oh… I don’t know… to be well… a lot less.”

“I’m... I’m… He’s… It’s discipline dad. He’s being punished.”

“Yes… Well… I can see that this is a very effective technique. I wish they would have taught me that when you and your brother were growing up. All the toys I would have confiscated would be collector’s items by now and I’d be rich.”

“Well what am I supposed to do dad? Spank him?”

“Just tell him about his older brother.”

“What are you talking about dad? He doesn’t have an older brother.”

“Well no… not anymore.”