“Oh me oh my oh, look at Miss Ohio
She’s a-running around with her rag-top down
She says I want to do right but not right now”
If those three lines don’t sum up the life of a five-year old, I don’t know what does. I’m sure Welch had another character in mind when she penned those lyrics, but whoever she was thinking of, she was wrong. It’s always been about the kids.
As much as they know what they’re supposed to do, sometimes, they just don’t want to do it. And unfortunately for us adults, there’s not a helluva lot we can do to make them do right.
Sure, there’s punishment. Spanking, time-out, insert your most beloved discipline strategy here. But let’s be honest, none of that actually works.
Maybe it makes us feel a little better about ourselves. Doing something is better than doing nothing, right? I mean, that’s what happened to us when we were kids. And we turned out ok (except for the ones of us that didn’t).
There’s a few things we have to accept now that we’re running the house. First is that if we’re having to rely on punishment to get our kids to do right, we’ve already failed.
Second is that, just because our kids don’t always do right, doesn’t mean that we’ve failed as parents.
Third, we’ve got to realize that most of the stuff our kids do, they do because they’ve seen someone else do it before (yeah, most likely us).
Want the kids to do right? We’ve got to do right ourselves.
Kids aren’t doing right? Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Find yourself constantly threatening time-out or spankings? Step back and realize that you need to put a little more work in on the front-end of this deal.
Most important, try to remember that all of our little “Miss Ohio’s” deep down really do want to do what’s right. They want to please us and make us proud to be their parents.
So next time you’re at your wits end with them, step back and and try to keep the big picture in mind.
Punishment and discipline are definitely appropriate at various points throughout childhood. But it all starts with us and the example we live out before their little eyes every day.