Why I’m NEVER Having Kids

Why I’m NEVER Having Kids #30: Punishing Them = Punishing Yourself

May 19, 2008 · 3 Comments

Above: The children in the video are on a one-minute punishment.  They are looking on as the clock ticks off each second.  This video is boring, but worth watching. 

When I was 16, I did a bad thing. 

I had just gotten my driver’s license that year, so I was a relatively new driver on the road, and not always as careful as I should be.

During that summer, my mom, along with my uncles and cousins, had come to pick me up from a summer program I had attended.  Mom let me drive her car home while she rode behind me in my uncle’s car.  While making a left turn at an intersection, I jetted the car out in the road just as another car was coming.  Instead of backing up a little bit, I hit the gas peddle and drove the car into the turn, narrowly avoiding the other car.

When we got back to my uncle’s house, my mom asked me if I had seen that other car coming that almost hit me.  My answer to her was rather nonchalant – “oh, there was a car? Oh well…” – and, needless to say, she was furious.

When we got back home, my mom sat me down and calmly informed me that I would not be able to drive again… FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS.

And what did I do?  I took pause for a second, then calmly said to her:

“Oh.  Okay, then, I understand.”

And why was this my reaction?  Because I knew that my mom absolutely HATED driving!  The only time she drove was to get to work and to go grocery shopping; however, with the school year coming up, I knew that, because we went to private school, she’d have to drive me to school, to my play practices, my sports practices, and all the other things I’d need to go to that I’d normally be driving myself!

In short: I was okay with the punishment because I knew she’d be punishing herself in the process!

If there was a way that I could punish a kid for doing something stupid without having to face any consequences myself, I might reconsider my decision to NOT have any.

Unfortunately, that’s just not possible.  If a child does something that’s out of line, any good parent will see to it that they learn their lesson by punishing them.  However, by doing that, the parent also ends up punishing themself, too!

Here are just a few examples of how parents punish themselves as a result of some classic punishing techniques:

1. SPANKING

Whenever I was spanked as a child, I always heard the rhetoric, “This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you!” 

Now that I’m older, I see the logic in that statement.  NOBODY likes the feeling of hitting a child (unless the person is a child abuser - that doesn’t make it right, but it DOES make them feel good).  At the same time, though, trying to talk reasoning into a kid doesn’t always work, which makes spanking the last-resort effort.

I’ve never had to spank a child, but I have had to slap the wrist of a few younger cousins who thought it was okay to smack me 5 or 6 times for no reason – and even THEN, I didn’t want to do it, and felt bad about having to do so (until they started smacking me again – what is it with kids and wanting to hit older people??)  I guess hitting kids just isn’t in my “to do” list of life!

2. TIME-OUT

Oh boy, time out!  You mean I can tell a kid to go sit in a corner for 10 minutes and think about what they did?

Only one problem with that: if they’re on time-out, YOU’RE on time out, too!  You can’t just tell a kid to sit somewhere and then leave the house – that kid has to be monitored like T.I. under house arrest!  That entire time they are sitting there, you have to be in the vacinity to make sure they’re not trying to escape.  Doesn’t that sound like fun!

3. GROUNDING.

Grounding is basically time-out, extended.  Instead of a few minutes, grounding can last anywhere from a day to a month, depending on the severity of the child’s “crime.”

This can immediately put your life on hold.  You may have had things you wanted to do during that time – go out of town, take the kids on a surprise dinner outing, kayak – but because the kid did something moronic (and since you’d like to at least pretend to be a good disiplinarian), you have to punish them, thereby cutting off activities you yourself may have been looking forward to!

So, no thanks – I have too much stuff I’d like to be able to do, without having to distract myself thinking of some punishment for a child that I’d then have to be around for to enforce!

-A.P. Taylor

Send your “Why I’m NEVER Having Kids” stories and/or ideas to neverhavingkids@gmail.com.

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