|Sorry, sweetheart. You can't get what you want.|
They obey or there is hell to pay. No, you can't have ice cream before breakfast. No, you can't hit your brother. No, you do not talk to me that way. You get your toy yourself. You clean up that mess. You throw that in the trash can. You go to sleep now. And we don't sweeten any of that with pretty please. There is no negotiation, no pleading, no bribing, no discussion.
Despite our being mean, our boys are happy and well adjusted. They have empathy and deep emotion. They're independent. They are fun and crazy and cool. They are respectful and sweet. Yes, even the little one-year-old. They don't shout and scream at other people. They don't hit other kids. They don't break our things, their things and other people's things. I think that's because, yes, they know they're loved unconditionally but they know their limits.
Boundless love doesn't mean not setting boundaries. Of course, the kids will test those limits constantly. That's part of growing up. They cry, throw tantrums, be disobedient. But we noticed that the tantrums and disobedience last just a few minutes. Of course when you're in the middle of that tantrum and in a mall or restaurant, that tantrum can feel like forever and you want to give in if only to stop people from thinking you're an awful parent with awful kids. But I know my kids better. I know their tantrum won't last forever so we stick to discipline no matter what. So my kids may misbehave sometimes but it doesn't last long. They are quick to obey and are remorseful. I think that's because our relationship matters more to them than having their way. They won't risk our disappointment for ice cream, for example, because that's just stupid and they know it.
On that note, meet Louis C.K. You actually already met him in my previous blog post. He is my new favorite comedian. He doesn't pull any punches. He's not afraid to question and poke fun at our silly issues. Best of all, he's a parent who calls out other parents' stupidity.
On not giving kids what they want:
"I'm not here to make you happy. I'm not raising children; I'm raising the grown-ups they're going to be. I have to raise them with the tools to get through a terrible life."
On how technology takes away empathy and compassion:
"Kids are mean. That's because they're trying it out. They look at a kid and go, 'You're fat,' and then they see the kid's face scrunch up and they go, "Oh, that doesn't feel good to do that.' But they gotta start by doing the mean thing. But when they write, 'You're fat,' they're, "Mmm, that was fun. I like that!'"