Thursday, May 06, 2010


Silas got a bad report from his teachers at school today -- stomping on books, throwing cupfuls of beans in the air, not listening in general (and most likely thinking he was hilarious). This is new territory in our house -- what to do?

He and I had a stern talk in the car. Then he thought of better choices he could make next time. I tried to motivate him by telling him how proud I would be of him when I got a good report. But are those things enough?

We haven't entered into the realm of discipline much. We don't spank. Time-out's have never really been effective. For the most part, Silas has readily responded to a firm word. He doesn't like being in trouble.

To discipline? And if so, how?
He could lose a privilege (like watching a TV show, which would punish me too).
We had a conversation about how in life there are things we MUST do -- listen to teachers, be kind to books, not pound on your friends -- and there are things we ENJOY doing -- like watching our favorite TV show. But when we don't do the must's, we lose the privilege of the enjoy's.

The problem there is that the motivation to act kindly then is TV.
How do you motivate a child to do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing? Not because of fear or guilt but because of goodness? How do you teach the value of goodness so that it matters? Is this possible?

1 comment:

Denise Ann said...

I was thinking about this topic recently, and talking with my husband. Having been brought up with a lot of "punishment" (spankings and -- the worst -- going to bed without supper), I decided I would "do it differently." And, whatever we did, it worked. We rarely took away any privileges (one daughter was sometimes on "phone suspension"), but I do believe that (1) choosing your battles and (2) being direct about expectations is what you need to do.
Occasional acting-out is normal, and it looks to me as if you are on the right track as far as values are concerned.
And, I totally agree that "no TV" is a worse punishment for the Mom!!!

Happy Mother's Day!!