Sunday, February 28, 2010

Silent but Deadly Discipline

Many of my growing up years were in the 80’s, and man, did I love Bill Cosby. Not only did my whole family love watching the Cosby show every week, we also collected all of Bill Cosby’s stand-up comedy and books. We had cassette tapes of his comedy, and later, when I was in junior and high school, I would try to catch his stand-up shows on cable and tape them on VHS.

Bill is hilarious. He is belly-laugh out-loud rolling on the floor funny. I have thought of his old routines many times as a parent. I have even heeded Bill’s warnings and have chosen to only have one child. He bitches about the frustration of having more than one child, which increases hearing, “MINE! MINE!” and “Stop TOUCHING me!”

Some other favorite moments include children thinking that they’re names are “Dammit” and “Jesus Christ,” when Bill talks about his wife’s face being permanently changed into a scowl after having children, and children singing “Dad is great! Give us the chocolate cake!” during breakfast.

One old stand-up Bill moment sticks in my head even more than others, however. That would be Bill’s wife exclaiming, after she had had ENOUGH, “LET THE BEATINGS BEGIN!”

I did not grow up with beatings or the belt. Thank God, and thank you Mom and Dad. I did have one infamous spanking after running into the street, and my dad was known to snap the belt in a threatening manner, but it never touched my body. My dad would sit in my brother’s room in the dark while we were supposed to be going to sleep (my brother and I slept in the same room when we were children, much to my brother’s annoyance). My dad would be frustrated that we weren’t going to bed. He would drop “silent but deadly” farts on us to express his frustration. When we giggled or groaned, Dad would say, “You think that is bad, we’ll get your mom in here and see what happens.” This is all I remember of heavy-handed parenting when I was growing up.

It seems, nowadays, that the pendulum has swung to the other extreme and parents are afraid to really discipline their children. Parents want their children to have more than they did and be happier than they were. Sometimes this happens in conjunction with unintentionally teaching their children entitlement, so parents must be careful and figure out a balance that includes empathy and love with discipline, limits, and structure.

But it’s just so much fun to yell when you have had ENOUGH, “LET THE BEATINGS BEGIN!” At least it makes my husband and me laugh and then we are in a much better place to deal with annoying behavior that requires smarter discipline. Humor always helps. Always.


Anonymous said...

I love Bill Cosby too and the "Enough. Let the beatings begin" is great. I will have to try it. I saw him when I was in college and it was so fun. One thing I remember clearly is that he could pick up random babies in the audience and carry them around while he talked. Not one baby fussed. Amazing!


Anonymous said...

Hilarious! I laughed so hard when I read this one, Kristy.

My favorite Cosby quote: “Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I believe parents should better discipline their children, but I've met many well behaved kids. They have manners and morals, though some of them don't apply either of them as often as one would like.

But I do love Bill Cosby. He's not only funny, he's sensible, and that can't be beat.

kbxmas said...

My husband and I were just saying last night that we needed a new tactic to deal with night-time whiney/draggy/tantrumesque moments. I think I'll try out the beating line and see how that works.

Kathryn said...

Bill Cosby is a classic. And I'd go nuts without humor!

As for parenting, we spent the lion's share of our childhoods fearing my dad. I never wanted my boys afraid of the people that should love them the most.

But I set boundaries....clear, concise boundaries.
'Cause little kids, little problems. Bigger kids, bigger problems.

It's true!

supepome said...

What Kathryn said! The bit about clear boundaries, and clear consistent consequences for crossing those boundaries. I'm not a mom, but I have taught preschool and kindergarten kids, and my colleagues think I'm some sort of behaviour management wizard - my classes don't behave perfectly (they are kids after all *lol*) but they know what my expectations are and they know what happens if they go over the boundary. I've taught kids who are constantly punished for everything, and kids who are alloed to get away with everything, and IME those two groups are the worst behaved kind of kids. One thinks it doesn't matter how they behave because they will get punished anyway, the other think they can do what they feel like with no consequences.

Sorry for the essay! I'm an abuse survivor myself, had a breakdown in November and was diagnosed with complex PTSD and bipolar type 2. But I feel the thing that has caused me the most damage was not the physical, sexual or emotional abuse, but that I grew up never knowing what to expect. What I was praised for one day I might get punished for the next. And that is a surefire way to grow a damaged child!

I do threaten my kiddos with ludicrous punishments though - I have a system where I put ten marks on the board, which get rubbed out if they misbehave, if there's any left the class gets stickers. When we go through the rules at the start of every class, they always ask me "what happens if we get to minus 100, minus 1000..." their favourite so far is that I'd feed them to the crocodiles at the zoo, or twang them out of the window with a huge elastic band :D
And I once threw a tantrum right back at a kid who was threatening to melt down - it worked, too!

Melanie said...

Ah, Bill Cosby, I went to one of his shows in Seattle back in the early 90's. Funny stuff!

Stoppy by from SITS, happy Sunday.


Life with Kaishon said...

That is so funny. I LOVE bill cosby! I am going to start saying that to my kid all the time :) Let the beatings begin!