Racing against the clock is a futile exercise most parents endure while raising children.
If time kicks your butt getting out the door in the morning, consider the consequences if you choose to ignore it when disciplining your kids.
To be effective, discipline must immediately follow a child’s transgression… or so claims numerous childhood experts.
Easy enough if you are dealing with a toddler whose actions are fairly simple to monitor. Not so when your kids hit an age when they would rather you not be a constant presence in their lives.
Or present at all.
Parents of school age children often struggle with timing and discipline. Compounding the problem is the fact that older kids are much sneakier than their younger counterparts. Once a child attends school all day, moms and dads no longer have the ability to control and monitor Junior’s every move. Kids learn this early on and can greatly take advantage of it.
Case in point: My neighbor recently discovered a large pile of masking tape stacked in the back of her teenage son’s bedroom closet. Long story short, the kid finally admitted to pilfering the tape last December while he was volunteering at a local toy drive. He was assigned to the collection area and was supposed to be using the tape to seal boxes filled with donated playthings. Turns out he walked home with a few extra rolls. He used some on his soapbox car and stashed the rest.
In the end, my teen neighbor was severely disciplined by his parents, but the consequences clearly didn’t follow his crime immediately.
The boy’s parents doled out a punishment as soon as they discovered their son’s transgression, but did the lapse in time diminish its effectiveness?
It may be too early to tell, but the incident begs the question: Is timing really that critical or does it matter more that the child is disciplined and appropriate consequences administered, even if they come later than sooner?