Seeking Alternative Discipline Methods?
by Nanny Deb
I have a few things I’ve tried over the years that succeeded nicely when I was at my wits end and didn’t have spanking as an option. Of course, the following may or may not work on the kids you care for, so try these at your own risk…
Young M., aged 4, had serious issues when it came to staying out of the street in front of her house. She would dash into the street, risking life and limb, when a ball rolled into the road, or when she saw someone to talk to across the street, or when she felt like investigating the “sparklies” she saw in the blacktop. Her parents were frustrated, and had told me any thoughts I had would be terrific.
Simple explanations of danger didn’t stop her. Strict voices and “nanny eyes” didn’t stop her. Yelling seemed to make her run faster, and keeping her on a long leash was kind of impractical overall. So what to do to keep my darling heedless charge from being flattened like a pancake by the teens who sped through the suburb going 45 mph or more in a 25 mph zone?
One day, after 3 darts into the road and 1 near miss, I took a few deep breaths, made sure my voice was calm, and told her to get one of her favorite toys from the house and bring it to me. When she returned with a large plastic horse, I told her she was going to get to see what happened when a car ran over something smaller than the car.
I strapped her and her older brother into their boosters, backed my car out of the driveway, and then got out and placed that plastic horse directly in the path of my right front tire. I got in, and said, “When I stop the car, you can get out and go get your horse. Remember, the horse will have been hit by my car…”
Vroom. CRUNCH. Coast and brake. Car off, M. and big brother hop out, and seek out the horse. M. sees her plastic horse, and she looks horrified for a moment before wailing, “It’s BROKEN!”
My response? “Yep. That’s what will happen to you if you keep running out in the street and a car hits you.”
There was a bit more wailing, some comforting hugs, and, best of all, a complete cure for the heedless dashes into potential death. The only downside was that big bother kept asking me to “kill” his toys for about a week.
My employers were a bit taken aback, but they said if crushing a toy kept their kid in one piece they were fine with my methods.
Next time, we’ll discuss the basic cure for pooping in underwear rather than a potty!
Professional Nanny and Postpartum Doula
Member of: CAPPA, INA, NANC, PNA, MAN
Blogging at: http://talesfromthenannyhood.blogspot.com/
at 10:52 PM