“Etani, bring your lunchbox into the kitchen,” I call when my 8-year-old son comes home from school.
He throws his backpack on the ground, flings off his coat, and goes to play with Legos.
“Lunchbox. Kitchen.” I say again.
I’m emptying the dishwasher and feeding the baby some yogurt in said kitchen, so I hesitate to go get him.
“Just one minute, Mom, I’m busy.”
Why does this happen every day after school?
Were my kids born with naughty wax in their ears or am I doing something wrong? What is the trick to getting kids to listen?
How hard is it for my son to take the [expletive deleted] lunchbox out of the [expletive deleted] backpack and bring it to me so I can put it in the machine before I run it?!
I know from years of babysitting, watching other (better, calmer, more effective) parents, reading scores of books on parenting, and bringing up four children of my own, that the key to effective discipline is calmness and consistency.
But I get so frustrated with my son when he ignores my words.
Instead of being calm and firm, I get loud.
“I NEED YOU TO LISTEN TO ME NOW!” I shout, red in the face.
“PUT YOUR LUNCHBOX IN THE KITCHEN.”
Then I feel so guilty for losing my temper that I add lamely, “PLEASE.”
“You don’t have to yell at me,” Etani mutters, tears starting in his eyes as he angrily stomps towards the kitchen.
“I asked you three times nicely. Then I got mad.”
I still feel angry at him but now I also feel ashamed.
“Mom, I didn’t hear you. I was playing with my Legos.”
The next day when Etani comes home from school I do exactly what I know I should not: I wrestle his lunchbox out of his backpack and bring it to the kitchen myself.
It’s so much easier.
But so wrong.
Wise readers, I clearly need your guidance and advice.
How do you enforce discipline in your house? What do you do to avoid The Great Lunchbox Dispute?
Last updated: May 25, 2018