Last Tuesday, the kids were out of school for teacher inservices, then there was a blizzard, so no school Wednesday, then the temperature plummeted and there was no school on Thursday or Friday. Friday, I was at work, pulling into the driveway of one of my patients when I got a call from youngest son, “My brother just hit me in the head five times, as hard as he could.” “Are you bleeding? Did you pass out?” “No, I’m OK.” (Thinking to myself, then he didn’t hit you as hard as he could) To my son:” OK. I will deal with it when I get home.” We hang up and before I can get out of the car, the phone rings. The other son is calling me, ” You need to make your son get off the computer. Make him get off.” (To myself: Ah, that is what this is about.) To son: “I am working, I will deal with this when I get home.” While I am in the patient’s home, the phone rings 3 more times, but I do not answer it.
I much prefer the carrot to the stick approach to parenting. I don’t like punishing them, I don’t like nagging. Rewarding them for doing well is so much more fun. But sometimes punishment is the right thing to do. In general, I am in favor of natural consequences, that is letting the error lead to its own consequences. For example: a child forgets her homework/instrument/jacket; she takes the bad grade or shivers. It helps her remember next time if I don’t rescue her by supplying it. Sometimes the natural consequence to too severe: he forgot the paper to make band a six weight class (all the effort of a semester lost) so I help him out and fetch it on my lunch break. It should almost go without saying that some errors require intervention before they lead to irreparable damage, i.e drugs, alcohol, sex, rock and roll. (just threw that last one it to see if you were paying attention)
Anyway, coming to fisticuffs with your brother over the laptop, is not that serious an issue. But violent responses are NOT okay, so the laptops have been sent to a secure location for a week.
Really, what could be a worse punishment that no Facebook for a week?