You know that “Marriage Isn’t For You” post that went viral the past 10 days?
Classic link bait.
The author crafted a sensational headline where it appears he’s going to go off on people getting married too young, or fight to turn the tide on gay marriage, and then he switches it up and writes a super sweet piece about how marriage is a selfless act, not a selfish one.
This headline could be seen as that. Many of you drifted over here thinking I was going to advocate corporal punishment, and make a case that you should not spare the rod when raising your child.
Not going to do it.
Honestly, I think when we spank or hit our kids, it says more about you than it does about the act they’ve done. It shows your lack of ability to keep it in check. Lashing out is selfish. I’ve done it, and each time it hurt me more than it hurt them. It’s embarrassing (and in some countries it’s illegal).
But now that you’re here, hear me out. I still have a valid point to make.
I think you should beat your kids at board games. You should beat your kids at video games. You should beat your kids at races.
Life doesn’t work like that and it starts with how we teach our kids about competition.
My kids like to race my car home from the park when I come home at the end of the day. I may coast for half a block and stay even with them, but I always beat my kids to the driveway. When it comes to playing air hockey at the movie theatre, or pinball at the hot dog shop, I show them who’s boss.
Baseball in the driveway? I swing for the fences and make them run all day long.
Even in board games on Sunday nights after dinner – I want to win.
This competitive level started because my oldest used to whine and pout when he didn’t win. He was so used to Mommy and Daddy flaking off at games, that when it didn’t go his way, he’d cross his arms and pout. It got to a point where he needed an occupational therapist to help him control his emotional reactions at school for something as simple as taking turns.
This whole “playing hard” thing evolved as a tactic to show him that life doesn’t always goes his way. He needed to recognize he’s not the only one that wins, and had to be taught to understand the rules about taking turns and being cooperative.
While I’ve been playing hard with him, I’ve stopped the selfishness from creeping in with our 3-year-old.
And you know what? Beating my son has worked.
We now have a much more patient and empathetic child who understands that not everything goes his way.
If more parents took a real-life approach and tried beating their kids, we might end up with a less entitled generation than it appears we’re about to face.
Thanks to Eric at Dad On The Run for giving me the title inspiration for this post and letting me run with it.
Image via iStockPhoto