I think I’ve discovered this week why it’s so much easier to not punish a child. It’s because when favorite toys or things are taken away from a child, they become bored and the responsibility to direct that energy towards something more creative and beneficial falls on the parent. Let’s face it, it would be much easier to look the other way and let life resume as normal. However, I’m intentional about raising my son to accept consequences for poor choices and pray that he will learn from those mistakes. Am I always 100% on my game? Absolutely not. I’ll admit I’ve had my lazy moments with small offenses and let it slide. However, this past week E.B. had to be punished for a poor choice he made. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t a really big deal. However, he was warned several times to stop before he broke something and he chose not to.
There are many different theories about punishments for children. Spank…don’t spank. Ground….don’t ground. What we’ve personally found to be most effective with our son is to take away something he really, really loves. That something just happened to be the thing he broke, a small netbook I had passed down to him when I got my laptop this Christmas. Each night he is allowed to play games for a certain amount of time. However, now that the hard drive is wiped on his netbook, he has nothing to play games on, and so that is his punishment. He also isn’t allowed to play on any other computer in our home or at his grandparent’s house for a week.
This first “grounding” has been tough for him. We’ve been reading lots of books, building with Legos, and watching movies. This hardly sounds like a grounding at all, I know, but he really, really misses his computer time and a certain game he played. He’s tried all of the “old tricks”. Buttering me up with how I’m such a great mom, how we could at least “talk” about this, and ohmygoshcanIpleasegetonthecomputerNOW???!?!. I’m proud to say we haven’t caved. Sure, it was easy to get a bit of blogging and Facebook time while he was gaming each night, but his grounding has helped me unplug a little, too. I’ve been too busy redirecting him to other things to get much of either done, and frankly, the extra time spent with him has been good for my soul. It’s so easy to tune out the things around us that we don’t usually notice because we have our noses to the screen on a daily basis. It’s allowed me to step back and take stock of myself and what I focus on. It’s been a gentle nudge that some things need changing for me.
E.B. has three more days until he is finished with his “groundage”, as he calls it. I think it has been good for him, too. He is calmer and I think he has really learned from this experience. I hope.