So here’s a new one. My favorite 5-year old AJ had reached a new no-no. I guess this would be the equivalent of putting a grilled cheese sandwich in the VCR in the 80’s when VCR’s cost about $900. Fortunately, this episode of acting out (which is the only way I can explain it) did not have the repercussions that it could have. The whole family was home and something was on TV for the kids, probably Wild Kratts, their latest favorite show. AJ’s younger brothers were playing together nicely and AJ was in the corner of the living room.
I must have walked in just in time to catch him. I screamed “What are you doing???” and he was doing something awful. I won’t say what he did but no parent would be happy. His Mom heard me scream and AJ cry in response and I said “Do you know what our son just did?” (We do pretty good at referring to the kids as ours, rather than yours, which sometimes causes problems amongst parents). I told my Wife what had happened. I angrily cleaned up the mess. I sprayed cleaning products that I don’t normally use in places where the kids play to make sure it was done right.
Marty McFly set fire to the carpet when he was 3-years old; I think I reacted worse than George McFly may have. I hope you get the reference.
His Mom said he was hysterical and hyper-ventilating because he’d never heard me yell that loud. Very rationally she calmed him down to ask if this was the first time he’d done that. He said that it was and that he would never do it again. We both have had incidents where we suspected something. As happy as we are with AJ, his development, kindness, sweetness and overall loving nature, this was clearly out of the norm. This event was hopefully a one-time unfathomable incident.
So with as detrimental as an act this was, there are no lasting effects as far as we know. AJ’s reasoning when asked was that he thought it was okay and repeatedly apologized.
Everyone’s parenting style is different, what works for you when it comes to discipline?
Andy (like any 3-year old boy in pre-school) has his hitting issues, so much so that his teacher has called me during school to tell me that he needed to be picked up as he was too much of a disruption at class. That only happened once. My first question to his teacher when I pick him up was “Did he have a good day?” She’s a very positive woman and a great teacher who also taught his older brother. So her answer starts with the high points but inevitably tells me what he did wrong. When that first started happening the main problem was that he was knocking down a little girl who had physical disabilities and after a few times of that happening, the next time I asked, his teacher told me he had a great day. I had tears in my eyes as I just did not want that to continue. That was at the beginning of last semester and we have worked with the teacher to try different things to help guide him towards better listening and respect of teachers, parents and especially his peers.
Here’s what is working for us
Normally I curse the Dollar Spot at Target as it’s the first place we see when we walk into the store. I try to avoid it but sometimes you can’t. Often there is really poorly made toys that are made in China by kids of the same age that we’re buying for. Like watching commercials on the Cartoon Network, the kids say “GET THAT, GET THAT!!” Most times, they end up with one or two things that they absolutely don’t need and quite possibly are not worth the dollar.
Why I mention this is because, we found a great item and stocked up on it. It’s a Leap Frog weekly chart/booklet that helps us write down goals for the week and it’s become a daily thing for us after dinner.
Do you have a method of going over behavior with your kids?
Our system is an X for not meeting the goal, a check mark for satisfactory behavior or a sticker for exceptional. This may not work for everyone, I heard a lady at the post office today talk with someone she knew about her two-year old daughter who said “No, she hasn’t had the terrible two’s” I hope for her sake she doesn’t because in my 5 years of parenting experience, the terrible never stops. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my terribly wonderful boys.
At the end of each week, Saturday after dinner, we go over how they did and reward them with a dime for each sticker, nothing for a check mark and minus 2 dimes for an X. They really like that they are rewarded even though it’s not much, we don’t really want them to be ruled by money or truly know how much money unfortunately has to mean to keep our family and the world running.
How we teach our kids about money
AJ plays on our Ipad quite a bit and asks sometimes to purchase an app and if there’s a cost to it, I just tell him that it’s not something that we can spend on which is why he has so many toys and games, food, play room, etc. Andy just is happy to put something in his wallet next to his tiny flashlight and toy Hulk ring. No money for Jamie as he would just eat it costing more money at the ER. AJ claims that he swallowed a penny when he was 2 years old and when he’s sick says that’s the reason. We don’t think it was a penny, it was an M&M or politically correct an M, right?
Money rules the world and I hate that. I recall when I was an adjuster during a pointless meeting, my manager asking why we were there. Unanimously everyone said money. I remembered thinking, when did that become okay? While we all knew it to be true, you’re not supposed to say it, right? The insurance commercials say that they’re for you to help, but really, they’re just a bank where something detrimental has to happen in order for you to make a withdrawal. I remember another insurance company getting in trouble for the 3 D’s : Deny, Delay, Don’t pay as a posted banner in their claim office. Have I mentioned that insurance is a scam? Yes, I have. While I may seem biased against Allstate, don’t get me wrong, it’s a bias against all insurance companies. I still have many friends whose livelihoods depend on Allstate. Hopefully they’re still friends after reading this. Who am I kidding? They have too many meetings and way too many phone calls to make and paperwork up the wazoo to take the time to read this when they’re done updating their Facebook status. As for me, my ratings system I’m realizing is somewhat based on Allstate’s performance evaluations that I used to love. Mine however, actually make sense and I listen to my kids’ feedback.
One thing that my Wife and I agreed on early on was that money comes and goes and no matter what, we will still be here. We will have to and have had to make sacrifices, we’ve made bad choices with money and good ones but we know that the drive for money will come up as the kids get older and just want them to learn that family, love, friends and experiences are important over money. We are not naïve; we just need to make sure that money doesn’t control them, that they can control their money like Mom and Dad do, hopefully better.
How do you teach your kids about money?
I know our methods are not perfect and neither am I but with a 5-year old, we have reached the paper anniversary of parenting and we still have not been given walking papers. We have however been given dirty diapers all day every day, but Andy is now fully potty trained. 2 down, 1 to go. Feel free to celebrate, we are!