There are many ways to punish a person, as a child I was smacked (it was socially acceptable back then), grounded, made to do more chores, had my toys taken away, put fully clothed into the shower (I was having a tantrum, it stopped quickly), but the punishment that worked the best, the punishment that caused me to both think and amend my actions, was when my Father stopped talking to me. Just for a little bit, but it felt like forever. I truly detested it, as I do disappointing those I hold in high esteem. What can I say, I am a “gobby pleaser“.
As an adult, little has changed, you can shout at me, hit me, bite me, hurt me, take things from me, give me more to do, say nasty things to me, but if you truly want to punish me, stop talking to me.
Perhaps this is because communication is so important to me, perhaps it is just because I am nosey, perhaps it is because talking to people, especially those that I admire, feeds a need within. Mainly it is because I find the lack of words with those I love, mental torture and the best way to hurt me.
I have great difficulty stopping talking to someone, which is silly really, as it seems to be exceedingly straightforward for some others.
This past week my children have been trying my patience. I believe that this is due to my mood making me less tolerant, their inability to comply has occasionally been too much to bare.
With Maxi, I can walk away from a situation telling him that I will not talk to him, then ignore him for half an hour (who am I kidding, a few minutes) and he hates it, apologies and his behaviour dramatically improves. When I take away a prized toy, he just starts to play with something else. He will create with anything, and stuff, whilst desirable, is not high on his importance scale. Communication and interaction with his important people is paramount.
Mini is different, he reminds me of my sister sometimes. I remember her not being particularly bothered if Dad stopped talking to her. (*this may not be true, but is what I remember). With Mini, all I need to do is threaten to confiscate one of his precious trains and he is compliant.
Both my children know I will follow through with whatever threat I assert. A favourite, is to get them to stand with their face to the wall for the number of minutes of their years. This works well as it is not location dependant. I have had them face to the wall when the wall is a post in Tesco or my car. Both know that compliance takes very little time, non compliance can take hours.
At school Maxi has a traffic light system, with a reward at the end of the week for consistent good behaviour, while time is taken of for each indiscretion of the week. I am planning to implement this at home. It works really well for him as he takes pride in ensuring his face is always green, which results in him receiving maximum golden time (an extra play time) at the end of each week. It also focuses on reward for good behaviour, whilst having a punishment for undesirable acts.
However, as I said, you can beat me, bite me, hit me, hurt me, but if you really want to punish me, just stop talking to me.