I'm sure that reading about how I discipline my children is not what you might call entertaining, but I think it helps me to remember what situations I have encountered with my kids and how I have handled them, just in case I need to do it again.
This boy will be the death of me. Seriously. This is not the part of parenting that I enjoy - it is actually one of the things I feared when envisioning raising kids.
On Friday I had the children help me tidy the house and vacuum before we hauled in the four Christmas Decoration boxes from the garage. This is always very exciting for the kids (Girl exclaims "It's Christmas! It's Christmas!") as they pull things out to play with: Advent calendars, nativity sets (carved wooden and Play Mobile), a wooden train that my dad made, and a Noah's Ark with porcelain animals. All admittedly cool stuff for kids to play with and I very seriously reminded them of the rules and that they are old enough to be responsible. Impish nods all around. Matter settled.
I set aside a few items to glue back together and an hour later with glue gun in hand was miffed that I couldn't find them. Huh?............... The kids all seemed very innocent and denied everything, but an hour later Boy Two said "Let's look in our stockings!" It took me a moment to catch on. Guess what I found inside? The missing broken items! Boy Two's excitement about the stockings was enough to temper my lecture, and I let it go with a warning. Such a sweet boy, I thought. I love him.
Cut to this morning.
The kids awoke an hour before I got out of bed and were playing fairly well downstairs when I came down to make breakfast. After we finished eating Boy Two brought me a giraffe from the Noah's Ark set (the one they knew not to touch) that was suffering from a severed leg. Now, I personally don't have any emotional ties to this Noah's Ark set but please. The set survived through my kids' toddler years unscathed and suffered the loss of an elephant trunk last Christmas, and now this?
All children vehemently denied any knowledge of the alleged injury, the murky circumstances surrounding it, or the location of the limb in question. After taking several turns around the living room with a drifting gaze that constituted a search of the premises, the kids made it clear that it didn't really matter. It didn't really matter to me, either, but I realized that I needed to get them to care. After all, they had broken something that wasn't theirs, that belonged to someone else, and now were hoarding the secret to the whereabouts of the missing leg so it couldn't even be fixed. Drat. I have to do something about this.
I put on my disappointed/upset/angry mother face and took a toy from each of them, explaining that they had taken something from me and this was part of the restitution (especially since there was a glaring lack of remorse or repentance on the part of the kids. Whose kids are those, anyway?). Then, until they could come forth and tell me the truth of what happened and/or where the MIA leg was, they were all sent to their rooms for the day. It was 9am.
On the upside, my husband and I had a very quiet, relaxing day to ourselves. I did bring the children their lunch in their rooms and supplied them with juice as necessary, but I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't being too hard on them, that this was a lesson that they needed to learn and this was the only way I knew to do it. Yet throughout the afternoon the words of Marilla Cuthbert kept repeating in my head: "We can't keep her, liar and thief and you know it, Matthew."
Boy One and Girl, whom I already guessed to be guiltless, were allowed out around dinner time in hopes that solitary confinement would persuade Boy Two to come clean, but no such luck.
Any ideas on how to get one's children to tell the truth? It seems that all of the sudden this is becoming a big problem for Boy Two.