Tag Archives: Discipline

The multi purpose toy

In this age of reuse, repurpose and recycle we’ve become accustomed to separating our waste into categories.

Our organic waste is divided into cooked and raw which our worm farms can break down and make compost out of. Our non-recyclables are separated from the glass, paper, textiles, metals and plastic which are carted off to recycling stations for filtering, further sorting and ultimately recycling. These days, the recycling bin is always filled to the top and the garbage bin is virtually empty.

It got me thinking, are there any other ways we could be reusing every day items before they enter the recycling process? The answer is of course there are.

Let’s say you have a number of plastic toys which are broken and lying about the house and, let’s face it, every house with children in it has at least a few of these. The toys are ultimately headed for the recycling centre but before they start their journey, they can be used one more time as a discipline tool. All that is required is a little marketing to create a demand for the toy and you’re all set.

Our little guy is two and a half now and is testing boundaries in every sense of the word. His favourite trick is to hit his older brother with whatever toy he happens to be holding in his hands when the dispute arises. This behavior is obviously strongly frowned upon and results in a timeout in the ‘naughty corner’. Often though, he won’t stay in corner and then of course the punishment doesn’t carry any weight. So my wife hit upon the idea of tossing a broken plastic toy car into the recycling and threatening to do the same to a more precious toy if he didn’t stay put.

It worked like a charm. He did his time in the corner and when he was paroled, he was sufficiently contrite and apologized for his transgression. We lightened our load (if only to the value of a small, broken plastic toy car) and the toy which became and unwitting accomplice in our duplicity was set on the path of reincarnation.

A truly win-win situation. The only fault with the plan is that the little guy is probably going to require more penance than we have toys to spare. That means we’ll either have to start getting rid of perfectly good toys (donations to children’s homes is an option here) or start buying broken toys to recycle which seems a little extreme. Time will decide the issue I think.

This can probably be classified as a ‘first world problem’.


The bad cop

Have you ever had one of those days where you get home and there has been all manner of chaos leading up to the point you walk through the door? Days where it seems the only role you can play on that given night is that of bad cop? Well for me, that was this evening. It was not an especially shining parent moment for me I have to say.

From the minute I drove into the driveway, there were tears. My eldest was busy dismounting from his plastic push bike at the top of the driveway and casting it aside in frustration. His mouth was wide open in a desperate wail and big salty dollops of tears were streaming down his red little cheeks. If I’m honest, I must admit that I considered reversing out of the driveway and going for a nice relaxing drive in the balance of the peak hour traffic I had just spent over an hour driving home through. I resisted the urge though and hopped out of the car, the spring in my step was a little less Gene Kelley and a little more Homer Simpson.

As walked through the door I heard a rap sheet of transgressions being read from the roll in order of severity. There were three main issues of which all but one had already been weighed and judged by Mommy and a suitable punishment metered out. There was still crying as I called the perp over and knelt down to his level whereupon he promptly threw a brand new fit because his little brother had just hopped onto the wrong one of the two identical blue push bikes and made a beeline for the border. The resulting outbreak of emotion (not the positive kind) was followed by an immediate, determined and tear-filled attempt to dislodge the rider from his stolen plastic steed. Unfortunately this was done a little too vigorously despite my warnings to ‘let go’ and ‘be gentle’, so a direction talk was called for in the room.

I had to be bad cop.

Amongst other things, like stop crying, breathe and calm down, this direction talk included a breakdown of events to follow in a specific order, namely dinner, bath and bed. No arguments. The plan, I might add, was followed more or less to the letter.

The trouble with bad cop is that they get a cold little shoulder for the balance of the evening which is not at all great if I’m honest. They also have to miss out on quality time of which there really is precious little on any given weekday. So also not great.

On balance, I’d much rather play good cop.