Disciplining your children is tough. Each child is different, and you have to find the technique that works for each child. For instance, hanging Child A by his toes from a large tree may not work for Child B. Child B may respond better to water boarding or sleep deprivation. I have found that you have to get more creative with discipline as your children get older, and they get more creative in their ways to circumvent your rules. I found a new technique this week and thought I'd share it since we parents have to stick together if we're ever going to get out of this thing alive, right?
Teen Angel has always been a very stubborn child (gets it from her father, of course), and standard punishments didn't really work well with her. She laughed at "time outs". She had the stamina of a POW and could sit in the corner for hours without batting an eye....when she was four. Solitary confinement in her room didn't bother her at all, and spankings were only mildly effective. Over the years I had to resort to drastic measures....house work. She hates cleaning as much as I do. Making her do it yielded better behavior from her, and eliminated a backlog of chores for me. It was a Eureka! moment when I discovered this tactic, and I rode that wave for....well, I still am. When she was six she had to scrub toilets because of her smart alecky mouth. When she was ten she had to clean the kitchen floor with a toothbrush because of her smart alecky mouth. When she was twelve she had to do laundry because of her smart alecky mouth. Now she does laundry to earn her weekly allowance and Hubby does some of the cleaning because he's retired, so I'm running out of chores for her to do when she acts like a heathen. I've been searching for new techniques.
We still have several effective methods for bad behavior in public. We have been known to sing or dance in the middle of Wal-Mart to get her to stop acting surly and mouthy. Or if she's acting really ugly, I just lay a big juicy kiss on her dad. Parental PDA stops her in her tracks every time. But at home, we were still lacking a really good method for zipping her mouth when it's out of control...until last Monday. I accidentally stumbled upon some parental shock and awe, the stealth fighter of teenage discipline, the mother of all weapons of mass attitude destruction.......parental nudity.
Remember how appalling it is to see your parents naked when you're a teenager? For some time now, I've been hollering out "nekked alert" to Teen Angel if such a moment arises on my way to the shower, but Monday she walked into the dressing room ahead of me, and I started changing clothes while her back was turned. I was standing there mostly in my birthday suit when she turned back around. Feeling sassy, I raised my arms and shouted "boo"! She screamed and ran, shouting, "My retinas. My retinas. Call a doctor! I'm blind!" Oh, it was great. I ran after her, and she ran harder, hollering for me to get away. At that moment she would have agreed to any of my demands just so I would have put on some clothes. Oh, yeah. She was putty in my hands. It was sweet. And the good part about this method parents, is that you don't have to be completely nekked. Apparently, just seeing your parent's partially clad, wrinkling body is enough to send a teenager into convulsions. Now, I wouldn't do this to a son, and I wouldn't want Hubby to do it to our daughter, but giving your teenager a glance at what he or she will look like in about thirty years shuts them up. I'm sure Dr. Phil would have something to say about all of this, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so if you find yourself in a pickle and can't get your teenager under control, I say show 'em some skin. I'm tellin' you. It will leave them speechless.
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