When your child hits the age of 12, no matter how angelic the previous eleven years were i.e. toasting marshmallows by the fire followed by a big cuddle on the sofa, they will without question, become objectionable when asked to come off whatever flavour of the month technology they are glued to.
This is when your wrath, if you have wrath, will be tested. But it doesn’t always need to be a painful process of hand wringing anguish, as you let your partner be the bad guy, you can spice it up so that all involved, apart from your child, can have a little fun.
Firstly, you need to do a little research. Your disciplining techniques may be outdated, so confer with other parents, either at the school gate, or from the passenger window of your 4 wheel drive as you park on the no parking zone outside school, as to what the current disciplining trends are.
Here are the freshest, hottest disciplining techniques doing the rounds at my son’s school.
Hi-tech to low-tech.
One lad in my son’s chemistry class, known simply as, Big Gordon, decided to spend the previous Saturday in a massive strop after being told to limit his Xbox activities to a mere 4 hours. As a result, his parents replaced his new iphone with a Nokia brick.
Another lad in my son’s chemistry class (not sure what’s happening with this class, I must investigate further and see if this lesson is prefixed with the word ‘special’) went into a massive hissy fit when asked to come off his ipod. His parents then confiscated all the chargers for his gadgets and he had to watch them slowly die.
Enforced playing with crap gift.
Spurred on from hearing about these new strategies, I made up my own. A few years ago a guy selling books set up a stall in my work’s canteen. I found some lovely books for my daughter but there was nothing for my son; I didn’t want him to feel left out, so I bought him a book about the rules of snooker that also turned into a small snooker table. The cues were the size of tooth picks and the balls were no bigger than sherbet pips. I thought he’d see the funny side; he didn’t.
“Why has she got lots of books?” he bleated, folding his arms across his chest. “It’s not fair!”
“Don’t worry,” I said enthusiastically, “I’ve bought you a book about the rules of snooker, that also turns…wait for it…into a small snooker table,” and I revealed the gift that I’d been hiding behind my back.
“Waaaaaaaa! I don’t want a small snooker table. When have I ever said I like small snooker…When…When?”
He got the small snooker table and threw it across the room, and all the sherbet pip-sized balls scattered across the rug (I still occasionally hear one of them scuttle up the hoover). It was one of those awkward tantrum situations where everybody goes red in the face and we look at each other, wondering what to do next.
I keep this small snooker table, which now only has 7 balls left, in a glass cabinet, much like the crap back-up they keep in clear view on Top Gear when they’re doing one of their expeditions, and when he is naughty, I get it out and make him sit in the back room and play with it.
The conversations go along these lines.
“Can you come off the Xbox please? You’ve been on it for 6 hours.”
“I can’t, I just need to finish this bit…it won’t let me save until I finish this bit.”
“I said now!”
“It’s not fair…Mum said I could stay on.”
“Do you want to play small snooker?”