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Wednesday, February 23, 2011


How do you discipline a child who disciplines himself?  I'm at a loss.  A complete and utter loss.  I've reached into my parenting bag of tricks and realize I wasn't prepared for this.  With Isabelle when she was little I knew what I'd be getting.  I was prepared for tantrums and dramatics.  I was prepared that when I put her little hiney on the "naughty step" she would react like the world was coming to an end.  Punishment was, well, punishment.  She HATED it (and made that LOUDLY known).  And then there came Elias.

Don't let this angelic face fool you!

With Elias I'm out of my element.  This boy is as easy going as they come.  He's laid back.  He goes with the flow.  He's downright lazy at times.  He's the sweetest little lover boy you'll ever meet.  In fact, I don't think there's a mean bone in this boy's body.  That said, he's not maliciously naughty, he's mischievously naughty.  He's our little engineer.  The boy is only 3 and he knows how to work the DVD players, TVs, Wii, CD players, radios, remotes, etc.  He knows how to change inputs to put on what he wants.  He's fearless.  He will climb or scale anything to reach something he wants.  You can place things out of reach, and he can and will MacGyver anything into a step, stool, or ladder to get to it.  Added to his repertoire of tricks is that he's stealth.  He's a little ninja.  He's quiet.  Quiet as a mouse when he's doing something he shouldn't.  He also has amazing speed.  In only a few short seconds he can cause some major damage and chaos. 

The thing about my boy, he's got a conscience.  His little cricket is always on his shoulder whispering what's right and wrong.  Recently I found him standing in front of the TV having the following dialogue with himself (and his Jiminy Cricket):  "Ewias, you don't touch the buttons.  You don't touch the TV.  It's naughty.  You sit on the naughty step." As soon as he said this, he then TOUCHED THE BUTTONS.  He then proceeded with his dialogue: "No touch the buttons!  You go sit on the naughty step!"  He then walked over and SAT HIS LITTLE BUTT ON THE NAUGHTY STEP and continued disciplining himself: "You sit on the naughty step 3 minutes Ewias.  You don't touch the buttons."  I watched all of this transpire in just a few seconds.  My son having a clear struggle with the temptation of what he knew to be naughty, but he caved.  The temptation was too great.  He immediately scolded and punished himself.  I stood with my jaw hanging open, shook my head in disbelief and walked over to him to follow up. You know, since I am the parent and all and should be the one disciplining him!  He then said, "You say sorry to Mommy.  Sorry Mommy.  No touch the buttons.  Ewias be a good boy. Give a hug and a kiss." Say whaaaaat?

Seriously, what am I to do with that?!  There are no tantrums.  No resistance to apologize.  I've tried sending him to bed early.  You know the response I get?  "Nigh night Daddy! Nigh night Sissy! Nigh night Mommy!" I try taking things away.  "Here you go Mommy!"  I've tried Dr. Phil's approach of finding his currency.  The thing is, he has none!  Or none that I've found yet. The boy is seriously the most easy going kid ever.  Nothing phases him!  A friend of mine suggested rewarding good behavior instead of trying to find a punishment that works.  For example, if he goes a day without being naughty that he gets some sort of reward.  I'm willing to try anything right now!  Today I went up during his nap time and he had emptied his dresser. As soon as I saw his mess he was apologizing and cleaning it up.  Once the disaster was picked up, he went and laid himself down on his bed.  This kid has me stumped!!!  Any suggestions are gladly welcomed and appreciated!

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