Less Is MawPosted: May 22, 2012 | |
Regarding discipline, I am not of the corporal inclination. If you have good discipline, physical force is a last resort, and for my purposes as a nanny I would never feel comfortable using it. No, when it comes to deterring delinquency in my young charges, I rely on their respect and affection to serve me well. In my long-term charges, some of whom I have been with for over six years, I find that seeking my approval is a very powerful incentive for them to behave. Mr. Man and Big Cat are constantly asking my opinion on all matters, not only the behavioral. Throughout most of our years together, my last line of disciplinary defense has been to say, “I’m not going to say it again.” I think they are terrified of what will happen if I have to say it again. And frankly, their active imaginations can come up with far worse potential punishments than I would ever implement, so I just let them wonder. My mama, an elementary school teacher, used a similar line with her students, my siblings, and me: “If you do that again, I just don’t know what I’m going to do.” Now as harmless a statement as it was for her to make, I know I always imagined her pulling out her hair, burning my toys, etc. so I would hop to when that phrase was uttered!
With toddlers and younger, I try to make following the rules a bit more entertaining. When going on walks with Doc and Rebel, which we do once or twice per day, Rebel was always straying off the sidewalk, whether holding hands or not. I started doing a Goat Maw to get him to stay on the sidewalk. The Goat Maw is just what it sounds like, an impression of a goat…mawing. Now, this may seem strange to you, but it works. It’s loud enough that it gets Rebel’s attention, but funny enough that it doesn’t scare or upset him. The Goat Maw is used anytime babies are doing something they should not, whether climbing furniture, heading toward the stove, veering off the sidewalk. It teaches them good habits, by telling them what not to do without overly verbalizing.