There’s little more endearing than listening to Mac’s delicate, gentle voice bellowing “Did I do a good job?” at his soccer coach. He came running up to me with his earnest eyes to reassure me that he indeed do a good job. His coach said so.
We’ve been working with Mac on impulse control, among other things. He is sensitive to some noises and stimulation, and he has the mannerisms that indicate his brain is trying to process everything effectively. Unfortunately, these mannerisms are weird. He’s working hard to control them, and I’m touched by his efforts.
As we work on self-control, I find myself thinking about discipline. Or, as some forbearers have said, my lack of discipline for my children. It’s a moving target, that’s for certain.
I decided, before having children that I didn’t want to spank my children. It wasn’t for any strongly held feelings on the issue, I was spanked as a child, and while that might lead you to draw your own conclusions, I don’t feel burdened or abused or traumatized by my childhood. However, I didn’t want to use that method of discipline. I held to this resolve until Baba, not yet a year old, was emphatically determined to stick a fork in an electrical outlet.
Still it remained the mostest severest punishment in the family bag of consequences. I spent a year threatening Mac with it, counting down from five. He continuously hopped to, so I never really had to decide what followed “one.”
I realized the full extent that the few spankings I dealt out when I overheard a conversation Baby and Mac had with a student of mine.
Baby “Our mom spanks us SO hard.”
Mac “Yeah and it doesn’t even hurt.”
Baby “It’s not supposed to hurt Mac!” Judging by her tone, there was some eye rolling involved.
Mac “I know that!”
I’m not sure if this indicates failure on my part, or just how my heart was not into this aspect of child rearing. On the occasional times that spanking seemed to be the only solution to aspects of Mac’s behavior, he would reassure me “That didn’t hurt.” My response has been, “It’s not supposed to hurt, it’s supposed to help you focus.” His response “Yeah, that’s right.”
So pretty much, that disciplinary tactic has been shelved. I’ll occasionally ask Mac “Do you need a spanking to help you focus?” To which he will inevitably respond “No thanks.” So we keep rolling. And my children aren’t horrifically embarrassing hooligans. At least I can cope with their shenanigans. And they don’t seem traumatized. At least by how I discipline. Other aspects…..not so certain.