Mary and I received a question from one of our readers that's inspired us to start a new series here at PiP: "True Grit." This is a series featuring your stories of non-PC, creative, unconventional, and effective parenting techniques. Most likely, these are techniques you wouldn't openly discuss at Mom's Group for fear of outraged gasps and disapproving looks. But they are techniques that worked for you and your child. Here at PiP, we want to hear about these techniques and share them with the rest of the village because sometimes parenting requires true grit.
[It should be noted that techniques considered abusive will NOT be included. And stories of spanking or any other form of hitting (though it is considered non-PC these days) will also NOT be included because spanking is [yawn] conventional and has been used since man walked the earth.]
So, to start off our new series, we present you with following story sent in by Anonymous:
My 3 1/2 year-old son has been fully potty-trained for nearly a year. However, lately he's taken to peeing in the house on my good rugs in retaliation for being told to do something he doesn't want to do, like clean up his room.
The first time he did it, I made him clean it up and sent him to his room for a few minutes. A couple of days later, he did again. I was upset the first time he did it, but the second time, I was livid. I can't have him ruining my rugs just because he doesn't want to do what he's told. So I did something I've never done before. I told him if he ever peed anywhere in the house again besides the potty because he was mad at me for telling him to do something, I would pee in his bed.
He was completely mortified.
I've used the "how would you like it if someone (or I) did that to you" thing before, but I never really feel like he gets it. This time, however, he got it. He knew immediately how it would feel to have me pee in his territory.
When I told my husband what happened later that night, he was a bit shocked because we've always said we would never say things to our kids we don't mean. But here's the thing: I DID mean it. I was so angry at him, I was ready to walk over to his bed right then and there and pee on it. But, obviously, I didn't.
So here's my question: Is what I did wrong? Part of me thinks I should feel bad or guilty for what I said to him, but another part of me thinks it was the right thing to do. And since it's been a couple of weeks and we haven't had anymore peeing incidents, I'm more and more convinced it was the right thing to do.
What do you think?
Wrong? No. Unconventional and effective? Yes!
Your words allowed him to experience the anguish you were feeling. You gave him that experience without harming his body, actually peeing in his bed (which I'm pleased you didn't do!), or calling him names and demeaning his character. And if, as you say, you've never said anything like this to him before, then it also isn't emotionally abusive. Sometimes, to get the point across, we need to say something a bit shocking.
Thanks, Anonymous, for sharing your True Grit with us!
[To share your gritty parenting stories, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!]