Less Is Maw

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.


4 Comments on “Less Is Maw”

  1. Al jo says:

    I will test out the goat maw with my 4th graders today, but I have a weird hunch it will end with 50 curse words and a middle finger. I’ll let u know :)

  2. […] I’ve found that rocking in conjunction with a simple, but very soothing, SHHHHH is just the less is more method  El Fuego needs. Many times–and with many different kiddos for many different reasons–a […]

  3. […] gigglingly ask, “Wha-ha-ha-at?’ to which I replied, “No one does.” This ominous reply (I’m sure gaining rapid momentum of madness by the kiddos’ imagined meanings) is made less so by my winking right after, and the kiddos, newly entertained turn their attentions […]


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