The other day as I was walking through the local mall, I saw a mother unabashedly scolding her son. He looked like he was about 9 or 10 years of age and completely embarrassed by the staring eyes of the mall’s patrons.
When the mother’s tirade ended, she forcefully grabbed her son’s arm and stormed away. This scene was reminiscent of my childhood and all I could think of was what was in store for the boy when he gets home.
I remembered whenever I did something bad, my parents would give me a good scolding and ground me. “YOU CAN’T GO OUT AND PLAY AND NO TV FOR A WEEK!” is what my mom usually bellowed. Back in my time, this was painful; I didn’t have the luxuries that the kids have nowadays.
Being “grounded” meant just staying in my room doing nothing. At that time there were no such things as cable TV, cellphones or video games. All that I could do to pass the time away was listen to AM radio stations (because there weren’t any FM at that time).
Now whenever I did something “REALLY” bad, like playing with matches and burning things, I got a healthy dose of spankings. My mother would get “the belt” and teach me an unforgettable lesson.
Please don’t think bad of my mom; she’s the most kindest and caring person in the world. Some of the terrible things I did as a young boy were REALLY BAD…trust me. Remember, I grew up in a time when this was perfectly acceptable or “PC.” Your neighbors and even teachers were allowed to do the same if you got way out of line…boy how times have changed.
As I was growing up, I wondered how I would discipline my children if they ever did something bad. Well, cut to present day…as a parent of two, I decided to go the unconventional route.
When my children were young and did something bad, I made them write me a story and then read it to me and my wife.
“Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, just write me a story” is what I would tell them.
“What do you want us to write about?” my children would reply.
My answer, “Anything! Just write me a story!”
For some unknown reason, this punishment really stressed them out. Secretly I think that they would have rather been scolded or grounded.
For the longest time, they would stare at a blank page and wrack their brains to come up with anything. Their stories were simple at first but in time, they got to be more and more creative. Their speaking skills improved as well.
Don’t get me wrong, they still got a good scolding if they did something really bad but I felt that I wanted to try and bring out their creativity at an early age.
This punishment benefitted them during their early school years and were recognized by their teachers whenever we had our annual parent-teacher conference.
Now that my kids are teenagers, this punishment is way too easy for them. I need to come up with a whole new game plan. Maybe I’ll make them come up with a dance choreography…yeah, I’ll do that!