Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Can Punishment Last Forever?

Have any of you out there with children ever actually *tried* punishing a kid for forever? Did it work out? I'm considering it quite seriously at the moment.

My darling child, the fruit of m' loins, came home on Thursday afternoon with her mid-term progress report. I checked her grades, duly signed the slip and instructed her to put both her progress report and her printout of her reading log back in her bookbag because I knew she would need to turn them in on Monday. (Friday, if you recall, was a holiday for Veterans Day.) My sweet spawn informs me that she did not even bring her bookbag home as she had no assignments that day, and she didn't feel like toting it 100 yards ALL THE WAY to our house. I calmly inquire as to how she plans on taking back her signed papers, and she blithely assures me that she'll just carry them in her hand to school. I smell trouble on the horizon. This is a bad plan, I can see it coming.

On Monday morning, she scoots out of the door, with her papers in her hand. I think nothing more about it, other than to remember that her bookbag is at school -- that's why she's walking upright, rather than hunched-over like our anthropological forebears.

This afternoon, she begins to get herself all worked up because her teacher had to remind her to have me sign and return those papers. So, this sparks a mad rush for finding the papers, with tears brimming close to the surface. In the headlong scramble, a vague memory of her picking up the lonely, bookbag-less papers and walking out the front door hits my brain like a sledgehammer. Trying to slow down the tornado that's now whirling through the living room, I try to tell Offspring that she's already turned them in, and she snaps on me like an injured animal nipping at anything that gets too close to its tender places.

Whoa! Back that truck up, girlie! I warned you this would happen. Instead of being admired for my apparent precognition, I'm railed at for being a forgetful, "you didn't sign my stuff, Mom" kind of mother. Uh, no.

I am exercising my mental faculties, and in another astonishing feat of precognition, I will predict this is not the last time that we will be having this exact conversation. I forsee many more mad dashes through the house like this one, and many, many more sessions of blaming me for "ruining my life, Motherrrrr!" I can see it coming already.

So, my question, dear readers, is this: Exactly *how* much trouble will I get in if I lock her in a closet until she's thirty? Don't Child Protective Services frown on the whole "you're punished for the rest of your natural life?" mentality? Do you think I could get away with it? Remember, you're all accomplices now.


liz said...

I'm right there with you (or I was this morning), but I think you'll have to settle for stapling them to her head next time.

Karyn said...

I'm with Liz! LOL! Seriously! I was going to suggest stapling the damn things to her sweater next time (because child protective services DOES get kind of hinky when you staple shit directly to their heads). Deep breath - deeeep breath.

ccw said...


Sorry to laugh but I am deeply enjoying someone else going through what I deal with every.single.day.

Staple the papers to her hand. She won't lose anything that way and if that doesn't work you can put her in the closet with Kid L. :)

KLee said...

I think the reason the whole situation is bugging me so much is because she's usually fairly responsible about school stuff. Sure, she's messy and infuriating at home, but she's a model student at school, and it really BUGS her if her teacher fusses at her. You would think that she'd want to forestall any of that.

Quinn said...

well, now that cold weather has set in (at least, here it has), you can do the old yarn-through-the-sleeves-of-the-coat trick to keep mittens and/or assignments connected to said child.

purple_kangaroo said...

It's hard to teach kids to take responsibility for their own choices, isn't it?

Old Lady said...

No kids, but I am a master of discipline, having been disciplined so well as a child.

1. Discussion of responsibilities and accepting same. No punishment just acceptance of responsibility.

2. Raising voice at Mom-what I would get and what I recommend are 2 different things. Not acceptable and say so. Repeated arguing or voice raising, denial of priviledges.

The responsibility thing is going to have to be a 'take your lumps' type of learning experience for her.

Now, having said that. In junior high I blew a book report off to watch TV. Teacher made me stay after school, had to call parents to come get me, made up a lie, got found out. Punishment. 1. Read a book a week and write report. 2. 30 minute lecture. 3. House restriction for rest of grade period 4. No TV for rest of grade period 5. Homework inspection. 6. Smacked for lying.

I guess at one time or another we all have lapses in our responsibilities. It depends on the severity.

Love your cards.