Whose Punishment Is This Anyway?

posted by Momo Fali on November 26, 2007

My son has been having some issues at preschool. Today, when I picked him up, I noticed the teacher trying to help him put on his jacket. He didn’t see me standing in the hall, but I saw him take his coat from his teacher’s hands, then throw it on the floor. When she tried to hand it to him a second time, he took the coat and threw it AT her.

Needless to say, he’s being punished today. Unfortunately, the only punishment that does any good is to take away his favorite toys and TV shows. I say unfortunately, because when I take away those things, he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He will inevitably follow me around the house turning everything I do, into something a five year old WANTS to do. If I change the toilet paper or empty the trash, he’ll say, “I can do that”.

If I load the dishwasher, “I can do that”.

Fold the laundry, “I can do that”.

You name it, he can do it. And, usually he can. But, for certain it will take a thousand times as long.

Please don’t think I don’t want to engage my son. I adore him. We play a lot of games and have been working on a big jigsaw puzzle together. We do speech therapy, work on fine motor skills, and I read to him.

Nor is he a TV junkie. At the most, he’ll watch an hour of Little Einsteins each day. But that hour, that precious hour…it’s GONE.

Once in awhile, Mom needs a break. Or, at least a chance to steal away and do some laundry without it becoming The Laundry Game. I would like to change the bedding, and leave out the part where I have to construct a fort out of the flat sheet.

    Comments

  • Misty


    bless your heart but I do agree. sometimes the punishments are just as bad for the parents. (if not worse!)

  • Nic


    i hear ya on this. don’t know if it helps much, but a basketful of books on the couch might buy you fifteen minutes.

  • Erica


    “This hurts me more than it hurts you” never meant so much to me as when I grounded my 4 year old daughter for the first time. Oh, man. Hang in there, sister.

    Also, my mother in law used to put a bowl of dry beans and rice on the table and said the kids couldn’t get up until every bean was sorted out of the rice. It took a while. It was also rather calming, the way she tells it. I haven’t tried it yet, but if you’re desperate…

  • newnorth


    ouch, good luck with the little ones help.

  • wornoutwoman


    I am screaming I HEAR YA on this one. I’m going through the same thing. Except our laundry game ends up being a laundry war. Throwing socks at each other all over the living room…which ends up being more chores for mommy in the pick up game. This post made me smile…thank you I needed that today!!!

  • Chuck


    I just sat here shaking my head as I read that. Man, have I been there…just hours ago it seems.

    I work during the day but I hear your story from my wife often enough and she just feels terrible on ‘THOSE’ days. It’ll pass. It always does.

  • meleah rebeccah


    Aww.. I hate punishing my son too.

    This post took me back about 5 years.

    Been There!

    If it helps… just know that when they get older its ALOT easier to punish them.

    They stop following you around wanting to help you. They just sit in their rooms sulking.

    Its actually, kind of a ‘break’

    (wow I sound like a MEAN mom)

  • Rimarama


    Oh, I hear you on this one. Taking away TV privileges is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  • Jozet at Halushki


    We don’t even have television to take away. I have to take away the privilege of hanging out with me and folding laundry. Which is really a punishment for me, because my 8yo is pretty darn good at folding laundry at this point, and now guess what? I have to fold all the laundry.

  • Patty


    Yep, punishing the kids is almost always more of a punishment on us than it is on them.

  • Bronie


    oh, i so feel ya on this one. the worst is when your husband doles out some across-the-board punishment for all the kids, then leaves for work. i can almost imagine the little smirk on his face as he (in my own sick mind) skips to his truck, and gets on with his day.

    i’m not sure which is worse–that i feel punished too or picturing him skipping. nah, that’s just too darn funny.

  • ummmhello


    Argh! Isn’t that the truth!? Hope you both get off of punishment soon 🙂

  • Corey~living and loving


    This is precisly why most parents don’t follow thru…it is to hard on us. LOL Great post!

  • boogiemum (www.boogiemum.com)


    Ahh, I have one the same age and go through the same things. I give him things to do, like wiping baseboards,to give me a moments breath and emphasize the grounding. He thinks doing things with me is fun, but if I give him the same chore away from me he takes it as a punishment.

  • Mrs. Fussy Fussypants


    I’m feeling your pain, Sistah!

  • becky


    Taking away the TV is punishment for us!! They don’t sit still and they must always ask what ya doin?? I can do that! Yep I am doing this today myself!!! I feel your pain!

  • Serina Hope


    I feel the same way sometimes. I think we all do.

  • BusyDad


    How true! The things they love to do (a.k.a. the things that will occupy them long enough for you to take a breather) are sadly the things we must leverage for punishment. When my son misbehaves, it stresses me out — not because of what he’s doing, but because I need to start thinking up alternate activities!

  • Jill


    You’re doing the right thing-which is definitely not the EASY thing!

    My four year old can do everything herself too! Cute, but sometimes frustrating for mom!

  • Deb Abramson


    I wonder if it would be possible to strike some sort of compromise–like, take away something so that he feels the sting, but not so much that you’re in your own purgatory.

    Also, he probably enjoys following you around the house, right? So maybe he’s not experiencing the “punishment”?

    Maybe just 15 minutes of “you’re in your room, alone” would pack more of a wallop than “no nothing for the rest of the day”–and again, save you as well.

  • Scot E


    Maybe he justed needed quality time with mom.

  • All Adither


    Ah, self punishment. I have the same dilemma in my house. One hour of Baby Einstein is pretty good. We’re up to about 2 hours right now (and I hope it never goes any higher than that. In fact, I want it to decrease).

  • Kim


    Punishment is always more punishing for the mom than the kid. My mom always told me that and I thought she was crazy… until I had kids.

    Kim @ TheBitterBall

  • Mommin' It Up!


    dude, i feel your pain! when I have to take away joshua’s computer and/or tv I’m like “noooooooooo” inside. ugh. I hope YOU survive HIS punishment!!

  • Melinda Zook


    I hear you with this. Mine is 4 and I feel like I am running out of options. When he gets into trouble, I want to take things away and then I have those second thoughts too.

  • Jo Beaufoix


    I’m so with you on this. Hope the punishment is over quick. We all need that hour.

  • Candace


    you have spoken my life! it’s been constant lately. that coupled with the news that she socked a girl in the stomach at preschool (twice) does not make for stress free days.

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