Hey parents! Do you want to waste a lot of time and money and energy doing a lot of work and accomplishing nothing? Would you like your children to regard you as one whirling, twirling two-legged moron? You gotta try this! For approximately $100, you TOO can show your kids that you are a colossal, meaningless ass.
Ruth A. Peters, Ph. D. (We'll call her Dr. Rap) has come up with a really great way to make China a whole lot of money, and send thousands of young people straight to therapy in a decade or so. Actually, that's probably her goal. Let's take a closer look at her plan. Pull on those Depends, this really made me pee myself laughing.
1) Buy a refrigerator magnet, treats, and a glass jar: Dr. Rap has parents drawing smiley faces, crossing off smiley faces, keeping track of treats and smilies and misbehaviors and time-outs. Oh my. What the ever loving hell? Doc Rap breaks the first cardinal rule of children- they just DO NOT CARE about rewards after a while. Especially the cheapo, lead-filled dollar store junk or tantrum inducing, red dye #40 filled candy that she recommends. (Quick thought- if they are super good children, and "earn" one or all of their treats per day, doesn't this cost about $365- $1095 per year PER KID?!? Not to mention a bajillion pieces of paper with schizophrenic smilies scribbled all over them, X'ed out or otherwise?)
Clarateaches says: If you have the time and energy and even half the money that she thinks this involves, you can find things to keep on hand to occupy children (without the High Fructose Corn Syrup and other various crap, and without sending a paycheck or two to China) when you cannot be directly involved with them. Be proactive, not reactive. What 7 year old on the planet is going to put up with this kind of crap? The shy and quiet ones will retreat, and be cute little pigtailed houseplants with no life or movement, the sneaky ones will figure out how to act out while getting the plastic crap, and the hard heads will decide that watching you draw smiley faces and cross them out all day is more fun than anything else.
Sigh. Moving on...
Digital Timer: Well I'll be. She actually has something right. Kids need concrete, not theoretical. They have no idea what five minutes means, especially if they have a highly distracted adult telling them, "Just five more minutes and then I'll get off the phone and play with you... five more... five more." This holds parents accountable as well- if you mean that you will go to the park in five minutes, you better hold yourself to it!
Poker Chips: Well why not? Let's get these little gamblers started early. Hee hee- look, she says, "I strongly believe that kids should earn their privileges (money, extra clothing and special activities) and not be given these just for existing." But Dr. Rap, in the whole smiley face, glass jar, time out, stand on your head, genuflect, cross yourself, turn around and touch the ground dealie- don't the kids get all kinds of treats for just merely existing? Technically, some waif of a kid can wake up, perform the act of eating and excreting, sit in a chair and do nothing, and win all three of their fabulous prizes, all hand-crafted by someone their own age in the People's Republic of China. Can I just say this again- WHAT parent has the time to dole out the chips and remember who gets what, who has what, and who lost what? If you're the type of parent that has all the time and memory to do this, couldn't you invest this in getting involved with your child in some type of activity that benefits the whole house, or whole family?
Clarateaches says: Involving kids in age-appropriate activities that contribute to the family as a whole is a great idea and involves little more than simply making it a part of their day from the time that they are small. Wear your baby in a sling while you vacuum, play "pick up toys" with your toddler to the beat of a catchy tune, have your preschooler stand at the sink and rinse dishes as you wash them... this is not rocket science, people. Model, model, model.
Ok, these next few take the cake. Videotape tantrums to mock them? Threaten them with sending the tape to family members?!? SHRED CDS AND DVDS IN A PAPER SHREDDER?!?!?! What are the values these are teaching children? Let's just throw money away- I don't like what you are doing, so when I don't like what you are doing, I will ruin something that belongs to you. Don't be surprised if Junior, on a rage at 16, burns the house down. And the tantrum thing- for once and for all- KIDS HAVE BIG FEELINGS. They need a safe place to let them out. If you are the type of person who drags a sleepy, hungry child to the mall for two hours in the afternoon and chats on your cell while going into and out of stores just for little old you, you deserve the whopper of a tantrum that, trust me, will happen.
Clarateaches says: Model, model, model. Do not give items just to use them as something to take away. Tantrums will happen- stay physically present, but don't hover; stay calm and for God's sake, keep your own adult mouth shut. They can't hear you, anyway. When it burns itself out, stay close and hug them- tell them that they were very angry, (scared, sad, frustrated...) and it was a big anger, and now it's all done. And move on. The more accurately you help them to describe what they are going through, the better they will cope next time. It's not permissive in the slightest. Nope, you don't cave in, they don't get to paint the dog's toenails with nailpolish after all. But, you don't make a screaming magenta baboon's ass of yourself in the whole rigamorale of capering about with a cheapo video camera, desperately thinking of all the people in your address book who can be sent your child's tantrum. Which, by the way, if you threaten it- be prepared to actually do it. Trust me on this one- no one wants to see your child's tantrum. There probably are only so many times that you can send Aunt Beatrice your child's tantrum before she starts sending you her toy poodle's droppings through media mail. Be an adult and model appropriate behavior. BY THE WAY- If you're the bright red-faced, screaming individual honking his horn at an elderly man making his way across the street while you were trying to turn right on red the other day, you pretty much have your own self to blame if Screamy the Second uses his "dog whistle voice" every time life runs contrary to what he originally imagined.
There you have it, folks. Right there is where it all goes to hell. "Why are kids so disconnected? Why can't they learn the value of their property? How come they don't value their family?" Shred their property while at the same time give them endless plastic junk just for staying under the radar. Laugh and mock their feelings during the age where they are trying to learn what the hell to do with them. Spend your day so busy trying to remember which of your three darlings has retained all of their smiley faces and which has already had two crossed out, and which time-out which one is on, so that you cannot spend any on showing them the appropriate way to behave. You, too, can have kids coked to the gills on all kinds of pharmaceuticals by the time they graduate high school. Way to "parent."