Disciplinary Action

Sometimes our beloved children do things they shouldn't or don't do things they should and we have to…you know, discipline them. When they're little, this may mean something along the lines of a timeout. When they're older it may mean the removal of certain privileges.

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.

"Whatcha doing?"

"Nothing."

"Why?"

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!"

"What's 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?"

"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."

"Uh-huh."

"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."

Sort of.




Image by: walknboston

10 comments:

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Haha, what brilliant story :) It is such a shame, isn't, that technology has gotten in the way of our simple pleasures ...

Brandy said...

that's so sad. we really do lose them to other things - don't we?

Sara A Broers said...

Sometimes I don't mind buying something I know that they really, really want- for this very reason. I can take it away when it needs to be! As a Mom to teens, I can relate all too well!

NanaRuth said...

Both my hubby and I applaud your thoughtful parenting. Your son took his punishment well, too.
Keep up the good work!
Recently we were enjoying lunch at our favorite restaurant when a cell phone melody at an adjoining table interrupted us several times. We wish we could have taken that lady's cell away from her!!

Susan R. Mills said...

I've taken my kids electronics away from them before, but it didn't quite work out like it did for you. My sons both wouldn't even speak to me. All they did was fight. And I ended up giving them back early. I guess I should try only taking them away from one son at a time.

Ivy said...

What a great story, although I'm sure your son wouldn't agree (at least not yet). You should make an agreement with him. He can keep the electronics, if every day he takes time to talk with you.

Heather Binkley said...

I actually teared up at the end. I completely understand.

Annette Piper said...

It's amazing how these gadgets take up so much of their brainspace.

My kids aren't this old yet (at 9,9 and 12) but we're very strict with technology - they have a Nintendo DS that they must ASK to use - and they're not allowed to play it more than once a week for a couple of hours, if that.

TV is minimised to a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday - no TV at all on school days unless hubby has the news turned on.

They don't have other games or phones and they don't have their own computer - access is severely restricted on ours.

So, yes, they talk AT me all the time LOL

Alyice Edrich said...

I hear you on that one! Before moving to SD, we'd get out of the house, and do outdoorsy things as a family. It was our way of bonding without modern distractions. And if we went to the amusement park, the long lines gave us lots of ample time to talk and hang out. I miss those days. SD is such a dead state.

Kim said...

Following from Kristine's blog/FB, etc... Wow, am I going through something similar. I love the opportunity to commiserate.

My 14 y/o (freshman) forgot to take in her homework yesterday. I opted to "teach a lesson" in responsibility and didn't drop everything to take it up to the school. Now we have slammed doors and accusations that I am at fault for her lowered grade. (see I can go into details since the likelihood of her EVER reading this is zero)~~

My solution? (after many slammed doors and attitude galore)... to send her to her room ELECTRONIC free to spend some extra time studying for that class. You know, to help bring that grade I destroyed back up. :)

I have an annual contest for Mean Mom awards. Would you be interested in participating? I don't give up my title easily, but you know for the right entry, I may reconsider.