Friday, November 21, 2014

Somebody's Watching Me

Regular readers of this space are aware that Mrs. Blackwell and I have been working on our discipline strategy of late.

Early returns on "time out" are encouraging. 

Yes, incidents of hitting are down. However incidents of
hiding remote controls in the pantry are up. Not good.
Firstly, there's been a steep decline in hitting, so I think it's fair to say he's been receptive to this approach — which right now consists of being firmly told "We don't hit. You're going to time out." Here, we place him alone in our family room where he sits for two minutes. 

Let's be real, most of us faced punishments far more severe than sitting alone in a recliner for a couple of minutes. (Funny, but there are days I'd pay to be able to do just that.) But the boy clearly knows what's up. He doesn't try to get out of the chair. He doesn't resist the talking to. He just sits quietly, puts in his time and, when he's done, he's great company. 

So, things are trending well and this evolution has proved to be revealing that we in fact have a sweet little boy on our hands. I'm not given to praise frequently but, the boy has taken his fair share of grief of late so I'll pause and say good job buddy. 

To wit. A couple of nights ago, just after we started taking this tack, I put the boy in time out. He sat quietly and did his time before quietly working his way back toward interacting with me again. 
I never trusted this guy....

Not long after, he asked me for a toy and said "please." I was thrilled and, upon giving him the toy, he offered up an unsolicited "thank you."

These are the moments, when you feel like you've got parenting figured out. You take action and you get the right results and it will always be thus!

But, if life has taught me anything it's that whatever successes I've had, are invariably punctuated with failures. So, I'm not getting cocky and you can't when your kid still picks up food, chucks it across the kitchen and when he's told "Don't do that," he complies by switching projectiles from food to cutlery. 

So, Mrs. Blackwell and I are enjoying an "up" period at the moment. But, things could always be better right? We can't always be around to parent, so what do we do to continue the process of molding the perfect child. 

I don't know the answer but I know where to find it — TELEVISION.

Watching football last night I was jarred out of my coma by a commercial featuring a hyper-articulate pitchman billing himself as a toddler. (If I had to guess I'd say he was closer to five years old.) 

Anyways, for 30 seconds this Ron Popeil-in-the-making took us through a variety of scenarios which illustrated the need for parents to leave a camera to spy on their toddler. 

...and I don't trust this one either. (Notice the stylish camera
sitting atop the equally stylish fireplace? Supervision
never looked so sexy!)
As this pint-sized cyborg adorable little guy narrated the commercial, he used a variety of polysyllabic words before closing off the ad by coyly confessing he might not even know what they mean. 

It was all so cute one might have been distracted from the fact that this company is marketing surveillance equipment for parents. 

Mrs. Blackwell and I had a camera that sat over the boy's crib and the generation of parents before us had baby monitors. But, there's something about sprinkling the house with cameras to spy on your kids that feels creepy. 

We're often told that the true measure of character is how we behave when we know we're not being watched. So, what kind of kid do you raise when they know they're always being watched?

I'm not condemning this practice just praying that I never feel the need for it. For now, it feels reassuring to know that something as simple as a time out can cure a lot of ills. 

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