Articles From the November 1994 Unification News
Unconventional Child Rearing
Contributed by Gerry Robinette, Tijeras, NM
Gerry says, "These methods may or may not work with your children." But they are certainly worth trying. Thanks!
1. My wife and I had the habit of buying our three sons small toys, usually hot wheel cars, when we went to the local variety stores. However, if we were in a hurry, we would forego the ritual. Well, our middle son would throw terrible temper tantrums. We tried swatting him on the behind once, but that didn't work. Talking him through the tantrums didn't work either. Finally, out of desperation, I decided to try something different.
The next time we went shopping, the usual tantrum erupted with screaming and flailing arms and legs. I asked my wife to take the other two boys, finish shopping, and then return to the toy section. I went to the next aisle where I could watch him so he wouldn't hurt himself or others. The tantrum continued until my family left the store and I'm sure people thought we were terrible parents. However, we simply ignored his bad behavior in a public place, and he never threw another tantrum.
2. My two youngest sons had a bad habit of fighting, sometimes over very minor differences. One day they were going tooth and nail, practically killing each other. Having had all I could stand of it, I broke them from their death grips on each other and gave them a minute or two to calm down a little. Then I turned to each one and said, "If you want to fight, then go ahead and hit your brother." After several minutes of silence, I asked, "Why aren't you hitting your brother?" They both started crying and blurted out, "Because I don't want to."
3. My ex-wife called me from where she lives in California crying and saying something unintelligible. Finally she calmed down enough to let me know that my middle son, the temper tantrum one who is now a teenager, was threatening to come live with me in New Mexico if he didn't get his way. I asked her to put him on the phone.
I told him, "You're welcome to come live with me, BUT first sit down and resolve your conflict with your mother in a calm and respectful manner. Then, and only then, if you still want to live with me it will be okay.
4. My youngest son was sent to his room for a serious infraction for which he needed to apologize to one of his older brothers. The direction he received was to come out of the room when he was ready to apologize. After what seemed like a reasonable amount of time, he still had not appeared to offer his regrets for his deeds against his brother. I decided it was time for me to intervene. I went to his room, sat about as close as a dad should to an upset son, and asked if he understood why I was being so mean as to send him to his room. He hadn't understood. Since he'd had the time to calm down a little, I re-explained to him very calmly and patiently what his infraction was and the reason why he should apologize. I left the room and very shortly he was out, apologized, and played happily with his brothers the rest of the evening.
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