In an ironic fit of Disney-princess-related violence, our youngest daughter suffered some scratches to the face at the hands/fingernails of our eldest daughter. For the most part, our girls (ages 2 and 4) get along pretty well. But when they both want the same Frozen movie storybook, all kindnesses go out the window.
Though we’ve seen the movie a couple of times, and they have listened to the story on CD while looking at the storybook in question, I think they’ve missed the message about sisterly love healing the world’s ills. I suppose I should be glad that my eldest daughter only has fingernails, not the ability to create snow monsters or icicle javelins.
And though it could have been worse (no one was seriously injured, just a few scratches), having my kids actively fighting each other isn’t cool. But how do you drive home a lesson on how to treat people nicely when one of the parties involved requires punishment?
Do you spank in order to teach them that physical violence is unacceptable? What is a parent to do?
Well, here’s what we ended up doing: My eldest daughter lost all night-time reading privileges until the marks on her sister heal and are no longer visible.
Every night, after they get into pajamas and take care of any bathroom/hygiene needs, our girls get about twenty minutes of reading time. Since neither of them can read yet, it is just a transition time where they sit in their beds and look at the pictures in books before we turn off their bedroom light. But for the duration of the punishment, my eldest has to go straight to bed while her sister sits in Mommy & Daddy’s bed reading.
And believe it or not, the punishment has been somewhat effective!
At least three times over the weekend, we encountered our eldest daughter sitting on her bed by choice. When we asked her why she wasn’t playing with her sister, she told us that she was getting frustrated with how her sister was acting and she didn’t want to hurt her, so she went to her room. I don’t want to say that we’ve fixed the problem or that we won’t have to address kindness issues in the future, but being able to step away from a problem without immediately reacting is definitely a step in the right direction.
How do you punish your kids when they are being unkind to other people? Or if you don’t have kids, how did your parents teach you to be considerate of others?