Saturday, April 19, 2008

Grounded

I crossed into a new frontier of parenthood earlier this week when I dug deep into the archives of disciplinary action and plucked up this gem: "KAILEY, YOU'RE GROUNDED!" Up until now, grounding had no effect seeing as how Kailey had nowhere to go or no one to play with on the block. But now that the girls have discovered a friend down the street, grounding is back in play!

We've had a rough time getting through to Kailey that hitting is not an acceptable form of venting her frustration. The girls get into an argument, Kyra doesn't do what Kailey wants her to do, Kailey whacks her a good one, and I lose my frickin' mind...for the millionth time. I've tried just about everything to curb this behavior, including letting Kyra hit her back (moronic, I know).

This happened, again, on Sunday afternoon...in the van. I should have known better. I usually don't let them sit together in the same row for this very reason, but they had been getting along really well, prompting my momentary lapse of sanity. As we were driving they started arguing because Kyra wouldn't play Kailey's game. I pulled up to a stop light and told Kailey to get in the back row, and as she did, whap, she slapped Kyra in the head. I watched her do it in the rear view mirror. I summoned the strength within to postpone my breakdown until I was at least able to pull the van off to the side of the road.
Then I lost my mind. Right there. In the van.

"WHAT DO WE SAY ABOUT HITTING!"

"No hitting."

"THEN WHY DID YOU HIT HER!"

"Because she wouldn't play with me."

"WRONG! TRY AGAIN!"

"I wanted her to play a game and she was mean."

"WRONG! TRY AGAIN!"

I could see people slowing down and reaching for their cell phones while trying to decipher my license plate number.

"WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO WHEN KYRA DOES SOMETHING YOU DON'T LIKE?"

"Use my words?"

"WHICH MEANS?"

"Tell you or Mommy?"

Yes, we've been through all of this before. Then I said it:

"KAILEY, YOU'RE GROUNDED. THERE WILL BE NO PLAYING OUTSIDE WITH YOUR FRIENDS, NO TV, AND NO TREATS FOR ONE WEEK!"

It's official. I've become my parents. I threw the car in gear and got the heck out of Dodge before the police could arrive. We completed our errands and returned home where Kailey's punishment commenced.

I've since come to wonder who grounding punishes more, the kid or the adult. TV and playing outside gets the kids out of your hair for a period of time. Taking it away means you have to entertain your kids (like that's a bad thing). Kailey fought her punishment at first, acting all mad and pouty at me, but she eventually embraced her fate and the two of us were actually able to enjoy some one on one time while Kyra played outside with friends. Whether it will end her hitting habit remains to be seen. And I'm still waiting to see if the police are going to show up at my door.


2 comments:

Daddy Parenting Tips said...

Reading through many of your post, I see you are getting it all right and i have much to learn ... being a first dad to a baby girl, just married ... I see few themes in your post - Adult time with wife, time spent with children in both helping them explore their interests as well as teach them whats right and wrong. And you have all this blogged, so they know your true intentions and none of them will feel you were playing favorites but loved them deeply from the heart. much to learn.

Dad from Tokyo here.
http://daddyparentingtips.blogspot.com/

battered ham said...

Dad from Tokyo? I've always wanted to go to Tokyo!

I think one of the hard parts of fatherhood is that we're all learning on the fly and doing the best that we can. I am far from getting it all right, but when I'm wrong (which is a lot of the time), I try to make it right. That's part of the reason why I blog...to record some of my screw ups so that I can hopefully learn and grow from them (and make fun of myself in the process). And you're right, it doesn't hurt to have a written record to show my girls that their Dad wasn't perfect, but that he tried to love them the best he could.

Thanks for stopping by!