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  • More On Child Rearing...

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        Friday, February 29, 2008

    More On Child Rearing...

    Now, you Catholic priests settle down. I am not using 'rearing' in the context you are used to. No, more in the context of raising a herd of sheep (you rednecks and Scotsmen calm down, too).

    It took me awhile to teach the wife this trick, but she's getting it: when they are fucking up, ignore them. If they bug you, unemotionally assign a consequence to any more such behavior. If they test you, fuck up their day.

    Follow through! Simple 'if this then that' logic statements.

    They are not your equal. Most of the time they don't even understand (or listen to) the words you use. I can't tell you how many times I have been watching from the sidelines, watching the wife discipline, jibber-jabbering away, and then I simply step in and ask the kid(s) "Okay, now what did Momma just say?"

    She used to marvel at the blank looks and shrugs this elicited from them.

    The average person has to listen to something at least twelve times before they remember it. It comes quicker if you beat their ass while telling them. Pain compliance, deprivation, and isolation are excellent teachers.

    I have trained dogs. I have trained small children. I really cannot tell the difference between the two. Except that dogs tend to learn more quickly.

    I haven't had to whap a kid in days. Though I have lifted the belt a time or two. I can make a kid fly. Because they know I will follow through. That if I feel a need to go nuclear on them, they will be sleeping on a mattress in a bare room while everything they hold dear languishes in the garage, and spiders lay eggs in their teddy bear's eyes.

    And there will be nothing but vegetables for every meal.

    Do they still test me? Us? Of course. Like the scorpion, it's in their nature. You may or may not know what an IEP is. Your basic education is no fault of mine. But each child needs their own, including which behavior mod works for them, and it needs to be consistently applied, and enforced.

    And the root word of 'enforced' is 'force'. Forget that at your peril.

    And unless they've hurt one another, I never let them see anger. I go robotic. The Dad-Bot. No emotion. I am finally getting the wife to do this. She always wanted to go all female on them, and chatter, and try to appeal to their emotions. People, kids aren't even developed yet. Let alone their emotions. They will reflect you, because they suck it all in and learn to be what they see around them. Garbage in, garbage out, in its simplest, most basic form.

    So be, be cold. Give them nothing but the promised retribution. At the most, permit yourself a mournful look of sadness. They have disappointed you so badly, and you regret, truly regret the inevitability of their coming discomfort.

    And like I said, IEP-wise, have a plan going in, of things you can threaten to take away, if. Punishments that have worked. This is helpful when they act out in public. Your 'bag of tricks', as it were. All of my kids have embarrassed me exactly once each in a store. And they've always been mannerly angels in a restaurant. Or else.

    And perhaps most importantly, let them feel invested in whatever consequence they get. Tell them they chose it. You laid out the consequences, they chose it in spite of your best intentions, so, sorry, here ya go, live with it.

    Now, that was a poor choice, wasn't it?

    And when it is all over and done, and the time is appropriate, remind them of how much you love them, and how sorry you are for the bad decisions they made, and ask them to not make you do such a thing anymore, and...

    Assure them that you will, if they make you.