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Posts Tagged ‘funny’

Like many parents, I have tucked my children into bed only to have them come out of their room minutes later for all manner of reasons, real and invented.  Forgot to pee.  Thirsty.  Itchy pajamas. Fan too loud. Bug in room.  Monster under bed.  Et cetera.

One night I decided this had to stop. I had each kid one-by-one raise their hand and repeat after Daddy…”I, (insert name here), promise not to come out of the room for any reason until morning.” My daughter, 7 at the time, then wrote down on a piece of paper the official “Rules for Sleep” which she taped on the bedroom door.  It said, “You must stay in the room after Daddy tucks you in and kisses you good night unless you have diarrhea or have to vomit.”

My younger son, who was four at the time, one night forgot to go to the bathroom before bedtime.  He dutifully followed my rules to the letter, remained inside the bedroom and urinated in the trash can next to his sister’s bed.

Sometimes Daddy’s rules work too well.

Just a picture I like to break up the text on the blog.

Just a picture I like to break up the text on the blog.

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Update: I wrote this one at the beginning of my second son’s rookie year in full pads tackle football.  Now, it is four months later and the season is over. He played safety and, despite being the second-smallest kid on the team, showed a real fearlessness about tackling bigger runners.   In the last game of the year, he came out to meet head-on a bigger running back and got slammed down to the turf but made the tackle.  I held my breath but he got up and went back to the huddle and made 5-6 more tackles in that game.  It is great to see your son bounce up and keep playing.  Here’s the video of that play.  He’s number 8.

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My 7-year-old son is playing full pads tackle football for the first time this year and is one of the smallest and youngest on the roster.  When the coaches divided the kids into two lines for the first tackling drill of the year, my son was fourth in his line.  My eyes quickly went to the other line and I counted back four to see who he was matched up against.  In his first attempt at a tackle, he had to bring down one of the biggest and fastest kids on the team.  I got butterflies in my stomach imagining that my little rookie in a minute or two could be lying flat on his back, crying and saying, “Daddy, I don’t think football is for me.”

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I got a lot of comments for my post a few weeks ago on disciplining children, so I wrote this installment today after my four-year-old nephew beaned my daughter in the head with a pine cone.  I was ready to laugh it off and move on.  But when confronted, my nephew lied about who threw it.  A moment later, he lied again and said that his Mommy had said it was okay to throw things.  The well-aimed pine cone I could forgive, but the lies warranted some kind of response.  I sent him to sit in the corner of the playground for an undefined length of time that turned out to be about 10 minutes.  I let him re-join us after he apologized to my daughter and explained to me why he was being punished.  He cited the pine cone but not the lying for his punishment, which is indicative of how difficult it can be to teach this important lesson in truth-telling to a little kid.

We all know that kids do stuff that results in something being spilt, broken, or getting dirty.  It is frustrating but expected, and in my book a mild scolding is all that is warranted.  But most all kids in the 3 to 5 year old range will at some time or another try out a lie or two to escape the scolding that they know is coming.  They blame someone else or make up some other little lie rather than face up to the truth.  Lying—even if it is deployed to cover up a small crime—deserves a some kind of a punishment in my book.  However in my daily life as a parent, I find myself doling out a scolding for the toy left in the rain but forget to punish the thing that is really a crime: lying about who left it there.

Another fine example: years ago my oldest son–who has always been a slow eater with a small appetite– claimed to have a tummy ache from eating half a bowl of oatmeal.  I told him that I took his word for it that he was sick and to put his bowl in the sink.  Though I couldn’t prove it, I suspected he was faking and I tried to smoke him out.  So as he hauled his aching belly to his room to recuperate, I told my two other kids that I was taking them on a surprise outing to the waterpark (this occurred in Jakarta and the waterpark was near our house and very cheap).  Before the car could leave the driveway, my sick son experienced a miraculous recovery.  He, of course, admitted to the lie.  I sent him back to his room to think it over and took the other two to the waterpark even though the trip would have been much more fun with all three kids.  I determined that the best way to get him to stop faking an illness was to make it costly to get caught.

The bottom line here is that while you may be annoyed as hell at your kid’s antics, most of it is just a kid being a kid.  But if there is to be no tolerance for lying to Mom and Dad, then it is up to you to make that clear.  This is about trust between parent and child.  And you need your kids to develop into habitual truth-tellers before they enter the teenage years and get into the type of trouble that cannot be fixed with a simple fib.

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The May 18, 2009 issue of New Yorker ran a fascinating article about an experiment that child psychologists in the 1960s use to test the ability of four year olds to exert self control.  The psychologist who designed the experiment later expanded it into a longitudinal study and realized that the ability to show self control at 4 is actually a fair predictor of future success in life (here’s the link to the NY’er article)

This ingenious experiment is easy to run on your own child, and takes only about 5-10 minutes. (more…)

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