By Will McCormick Guest Blogger
A funny thing happened on the way to a spanking.
Michael was two years old when his brother Mathew entered this world. He had endured a long day of waiting at the hospital with extended family. We had decided that I would take him home to try to keep things as normal as possible for Michael while his mother and new brother rested in the hospital. I am not quite sure how much sugar he was given while in the care of others, but picture Taz on Starbucks. I could not get him to stay in his bed.
Finally, straight out of an old Bill Cosby routine I announced, “I have had enough. The beatings are about to begin!” I grabbed my son, turned him over my knee, and explained to him that he was going to get a spanking because he would not mind me. Michael looked at me and in a questioning voice asked, “Ok, Daddy?” I looked at my son and began to cry harder than I did in the private moments in the hospital on the day he came into this world. I hugged my son tightly knowing I would never be able to strike him. I felt two little arms tighten around my neck and a little hand patting my shoulder. Michael said, “Night, Daddy.” He slide out of my lap and went to bed. It was the first time he had ever gone to bed by himself. By the time I got to his room, Michael was asleep in his little car bed.
The boys’ mother and I figured a few things out after that night. Children want to be loved by their parents. In their minds often they equate attention with love. Often, children only have their parent’s complete, undivided attention when they are in trouble. They know at that moment nothing else matters to their parents but them. We decided to make a huge deal about every little positive thing that our kids do, and minimized the attention to their mistakes. Now we do not overlook their mistakes at all. Mistakes and poor choices are a way for us to teach our children a better way, but when one of them holds a door open for someone that is an opportunity to say how proud we are. That is a big deal.
Every parent has their own way of disciplining their children. I am not here to question that, but I have lost count of the number of people who have asked me over the years what we did to have such incredible kids. I usually just smile and say, “We figured out how to show them we love them”.
At the end of the day, that is all they really ever want. (Well, that and a new Ipod)
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