Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Spent whole day with children. Floor littered with hair I pulled out of my own head. Hands shaking. Gut churning. Children triumphantly battling each other. Mom reduced to wreckage. I miss the days of a good spanking -- and I'm speaking as one who was on the receiving end of a quick-handed mother. For strong-willed children, the threat of a "time out" or losing a toy or facing Mom's disapproval is meaningless. All of these "punishments" just mean a small deferral of pleasure until life returns to normal. There's nothing more effective then a well-timed slap, which instantly gives the child negative, unpleasant feedback, and creates a strong incentive in the child to remember the rule, listen to the instruction, and avoid the immediately nasty sensation of pain. Do I sound like an evil dragon? I'm not, really. I'm massively frustrated, because I live in a community where corporal punishment can leave you being visited by Child Protective Services. So I don't use corporal punishment against my kids. The problem is that parents have no leverage here. It's fine if you've got easy-going, lowish energy kids. It's not fine if you have dynamos, who have no natural off buttons, and who know that there's really no consequence of consequence at the end of the line. Believe it or not, despite my lack of leverage, I'm enough of a disciplinarian that I still manage to run a fairly tight ship -- and I have pretty nice kids. It just takes such an inordinate, disproportionate amount of parental energy and imagination. This requires a level of chronic mental effort that takes much of the fun out of childcare, especially since there are few times in this dance where I can just relax, knowing that I'm in the company of children who will be well-behaved, rather than little time bombs. They're sweet and loving children, but they're also smart, and it doesn't take long for a smart child to find loopholes, billions of them. Sorry for the grump, but it's been a day beyond exhausting.