Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
It's not easy being a dad
Published on May 9, 2004 By Draginol In Home & Family

It's mother's day and my wife is out getting a dress for dinner tonight. So I'm at home with the boys. The boys are mirror images of one another.

The 7 year old is gentle, kind, thoughtful. But also soft, fearful, and uncompetitive.  The 3 year old by contrast is strong, willful, adventurous but also disobedient, slow to learn, stubborn.

I've been trying to teach the 7 year old how to ride his bike. It's been difficult because he has no interest in learning whatsoever and is afraid of falling. It's been quite a trial getting him to learn and progress has been slow. Because Alex, the older one, has always been so cooperative, we attributed it all to good parenting. We haven't needed to spank him (or at least very very rarely). He rarely needs time outs.

Ryan, the 3 year old, by contrast, just is incredibly disobedient to the point that I wonder if he's just slow. With Alex, I've never counted to 3. I would say "1..2.." and voila, he'd be up to his room or doing whatever.  With Ryan it's "1...2....2.5...2.75...3!....3!!!" and he'll just sit there defiantly. Even today I had to give him a spanking for throwing things at his older brother in the head. Alex, ever kind and gentle, didn't retaliate.  I told Ryan he needed to go to his room. He said "No." But he kissed Alex on the head where one of the metal projectiles had hit. I said "That's a nice boy, but you still need to go to yur room for a few minutes." "NO.' Eventually this lead to "1...2....3"

When I reach 3, spanking is pretty much my main weapon. I had never actually expected to get to 3. I'd been a parent 5 years before I'd gotten to 3 and like I said, I've never had to count all the way to 3 with the older one.  So 3 swats to the rear end and off to his room I put him. 

About 15 minutes later I go up to his room and explain why he was disicplined. He said he understood and asked for piece of cheese. So I brought him down, got him some cheese and then he says "Nah, not hungry anymore." To which I said "You asked for cheese, you need to at least eat some of it. I don't want to waste it." He said "No." Again.. just 15 minutes ago we went through this. "Eat a piece of cheese NOW." "NO". "1...2...3" now this time since he hadn't done anything that I felt warranted a spanking I sent him to his room. This time he obeyed.

Which is where he is now. In his room crying. And I feel awful because it breaks my heart to see either of my two children unhappy. But I also fear that a lack of personal disicpline will cause them much more grief in the long run if it isn't instilled in them now. And so here we are.

on May 09, 2004
I got to spend quite a lot of time in my room for being a knucklehead. And I got my fair share of spankings, too. And I ended up turning OK. You can ask the wardens.
No... Seriously. He probably knows that he deserves the spanking he just got. It might just take a while for him to find out it's not worth arguing with you, and you always win because... well... you're the dad.
Take my comment with a grain of salt, as I only know one side of the issue. I don't have kids, but hey... I've been one for 26 something years.
on May 09, 2004
i would say take the take the fact that you had to discipline your son with a grain of salt. i have four beautiful children, boys 4, 12 and girls 5, 14 and i learned a long time ago that as a parent you just can't let the fact that you have to spank your children get to you. there has to be some kind of order. its been a long time since i had to discipline my older two but the younger ones.......i guess about a week. but they all know that when their disciplined i don't raise my voice and i don't speak out of anger. they have since come to respect me and i them for the way that we communicate durning this process. none of my kids have ever raised their voice to me, tried to hit me or curse me or any other adult. my children have also never been in any kind of fight and they all get rave reviews in school. i guess i'm blessed. you know until i had my children i didn't know what love or missing someone was all about, i'm 38 now and a detroit firefighter, it feels good to have my children to look up to me. we all know it doesn't come with a manual so enjoy the ride.
on May 09, 2004

I don't think you have to worry about him being 'slow', I think he may have inherited his father's more tenacious traits.  He is, as you said, stubborn.

My 9-going-on-30 year old son is much the same way. Everything, and I mean everything, was a battle of wills with him from an very early age...and it still is.  The trick to it, I have found, is to somehow let him think that what you're asking/telling him to do is actually his idea. It appeals to the independent streak many stubborn kids have. 

I also tried counting to 3, and found that it wasn't too effective with Davey (the 9 y/o).  His sister and brother all did fine with the concept, but not Davey.  That kid got more swats on the rear than both the other two combined, especially from his father - two stubborn personalities clashing there.  I didn't and don't like to spank, but sometimes there simply is no other recourse, especially with younger children whom you cannot reason with.

I would like to tell you they grow out of it, but mine hasn't done so yet...and if his father's temperament is anything to go by, he may never.


on May 10, 2004
My daughter and my niece are mirror images of me and my twin sister. I can visually cue the counting to three on my fingers and by the time I get to two, she's doing what she's supposed to be doing. I haven't had to actually spank her for years, just the threat of a spanking is enough. My niece however, is just like my sister. Threaten spankings, time-outs, ceasing treats... all these do not work. However, if you just say to her in a grave voice, "Skylar, I am very disappointed in you." and she's reduced to tears and automatically becomes obedient. Both my sister and I responded the exact same ways as our daughters do to these differing disciplinary styles.

Either way, both of us seem to have ended up all right. While we did behave quite differently, we were also raised together by parents who always let us know we were loved, respected and appreciated. It's hard not to turn out all right with those factors guiding you through life.