September 17, 2010

Math in Parenting: Using the power of Subtraction

I'm not your so-called traditional parent. Meaning, my parenting skills are not based on any parenting textbook or guidebook - never a fan of those - nor influenced by the culturally-guided olden, antiqued ways of parenting my parents have imposed on me { or the lack thereof } when I was growing up. I always believed in individuality. Yes, parenting skills are not natural-borne traits but our parental instincts do - most of us are blessed with it and yet some don't - but we do learn...differently.

Everyday circumstances are my teachers and not being traditional gives me the freedom to play in the parental field with trial and error. Not all tricks applies to kids in general, so I experiment. Though part of my disciplining involve yelling sometimes, that just gets old too quickly and loses it's effectiveness in the process. Unless of course, it's one of those days where I just needed a reason to scream! Now I hate Math, but it seem that it's complex method works quite well in the realm of parenting. In this case, I invoked the power of subtraction.

First, the scenario that lead to the subtraction. 
Just the other night, my 6 year old got sneaky and decided she wanted a drink of Iced Tea. It was almost her bedtime. And she knew she's not allowed to drink caffeinated liquids at night. As soon as I was out of sight, she indulged at the chance! But, I wasn't even gone for 5 minutes and there I hear this blood-curdling scream like someone just got murdered, followed by a mad rush of footsteps running towards my bedroom and onto the bathroom where I thought I would have some peace and quite while I go kaboom! The little girl came flying into the room all freaked out, crying like a mad rabbit and blabbering words that the green men from mars can only understand! What happened? Let's just say, the Iced tea did NOT make it to her cup but ON herself and on the majority of the couch and the floor! A full pitcher of Iced tea, all gone...

Needless to say, I was irked! Not only was my kaboom endeavors got abruptly interrupted, I also have a huge mess to clean. Yell? No. Damage is done. Yelling won't help. Spank? Nope. She's already crying. No reason to make her cry more and waste my energy. She loves Math. I'll give her a dose of Math!

I sternly gave her this simple formula: One week minus TV and iPad privilege = ultimate punishment! - To her it was. A method that is actually working pretty well that if she misbehaves, I just tell her, "I'll add one more day to your punishment week", and that instantaneously straightens her up! More days = more days without TV and iPad! How cruel right?
In retrospect, you'll be surprised how taking away these privileges actually equaled to productivity for her. Since she has "nothing else to do", it made her finally see the mess in her room which she was blind to for days { in spite of my endless nagging } and actually cleaned it voluntarily! Yes! It also gave her time to appreciate her book more and read them!
As parents, we do have a very difficult yet important task in teaching our kids to do right and empowering them to be better persons when they're older. Don't be afraid to implement tough love and to use the power of subtraction! Trust me, you're adding more to them by subtracting something! The only key is to be firm with the subtraction. It should be non-negotiable until fully served.

What do you think? Will this parenting technique work for you? If you have thoughts or tips on this topic please share them with us.


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