Remember the disciplinary tactics you had when your kids were toddlers? I could easily get our daughter in line by threatening to “take her nose.” Our son was a different story. His capacity to defy order was insurmountable, not caring one bit about his nose, despite his belief that I actually had it.
As time marched on, the strategy had to change. I’d heard stories of daughters and Dads being “the best of pals” until the age of 13. At that point, it’s rumored by young teens, the Dad completes metamorphosis, emerging as a Medieval ogre, hell bent on destroying the social lives of the newly enlightened.
It was obvious from the first time I sprung them from an extreme timeout, I’d never follow through on a disciplinary threat. The new approach had to be an appeal to reason. Investing the time in expository dialogue, a.k.a. “engaging lectures,” seemed like the right course of action. In the war between parents and unsavory cultural elements for the soul of a child, the word is mightier than the timeout. Naturally it depends on what you say and how you say it, but those are minor details 🙂 Thankfully, as a former newly enlightened teen, I racked up 30 years of experience…and counting…arguing with MY Dad, before I had to ply my skill.
There’s a good number of years before they reach their late 30s and I allow them to venture off and deal with these rapidly changing times. For now, we’ve developed a rapport that gives me confidence in the road yet to be traveled.
“OK luv. Have fun in school today! Be bad, fight with the other kids, do drugs, say mean things, get bad grades and don’t take a shower after gym class.”
“OK Dad! Will do!”
So much for expository dialogue.