Now as every parent knows, disciplining our children often causes the parent as much or more pain than it does the child. It's tough to witness our kids crying or feeling bad, even though we know it's for their own good. Even though we're helping them become better people and responsible members of society.
Well, recently my hubs and I had to take disciplinary action on our son, and I've got to tell you, (come a little closer, I need to whisper…) I actually enjoyed it. See, for the first time in his 15-year-old life, we decided his punishment required taking away his electronics.
I won't go into details out of respect for my boy, but in order to help him "become a better person" we took it all away for a few days. I'm talking no cell phone, no computer (except for homework), no X-Box, no iPod and no T.V.
The first morning after this disciplinary tactic was implemented I came downstairs to find him sitting at the dining room table staring into space. He still had 20 minutes remaining before he left for school.
My question was met with an arched brow and a long look.
"Oh yeah, I forgot. Well, you could read your Language Arts book."
Another arched brow.
Unfortunately my love-of-getting-lost-in-books gene was not passed onto my son. Instead, he started talking to me. He talked to me the entire time till he left for school.
When he came home that afternoon, he immediately completed his homework, cleaned his room, and then talked to me some more. He shared interesting tidbits from his day and funny stories. He was his delightful old self from younger years, that talkative kid who barely took a breath between sentences. He used to talk so much that I would find myself guiltily daydreaming, missing something he'd just said, while he chattered on. Of course he still talks with me, even when he does have all his electronic distractions, but I hadn't realized how much we'd digressed from our more frequent conversations and sharing until now.
It was an epiphany. And I suddenly had a brilliant idea.
I've been dreading our daughter heading off to college in the fall. I'm excited for her sake, but I'll miss her so much and the house will be too quiet without her gabby, laughing, joyful presence. I was thinking about this when Josh suddenly grinned his impish, dimpled grin at me and said, "Tomorrow!"
"I get my stuff back," he said with an appalled look on his face like, how could I forget such a momentous occasion.
"Oh." I hesitated. "You know, Josh, I've been thinkin'."
"Yeah. See, I've really enjoyed this no electronics thing. How we're talking more, sharing more. It's been great. And with Ashleigh leaving for college in the fall, it's gonna be awful quiet around here."
"So, I've been thinking that maybe we'll have these no electronics days a LOT more often, like every week or so."
He looked at me. His mouth sort of hung open and his beautiful baby browns got really large in his face. He didn't say a word, but little indistinguishable sounds issued from somewhere deep inside. "B…ne….you…"
Hmmm, perhaps he wasn't thinking what I was thinking. I smiled and patted his arm, "Don't worry, it was just a thought."
He let out a puff of air. "Don't do that to me mom, I thought you were serious! You were just kidding, right?"
"Yeah, of course."
Image by: walknboston