Sabrina is turning five years old this month. The younger sister of seven year old Skylee, she really knows how to raise a stink. It makes life for the whole family difficult when she launches into a tantrum, lying on her back, kicking and screaming. Fortunately she doesn’t go to these lengths in public. She reserves such special moments for the sanctity of our humble home.
Recently it hasn’t been unusual for Sabrina to cry so hard her voice gets horse. Amazingly, she will be starting Kindergarten soon, and it makes me wonder how things will unfold or become undone in the classroom. In all fairness to Sabrina, she did fine in preschool, and she actually interviewed with the school administrators to confirm acceptance (it’s a public school, believe it or not), so she should be fine. I just think she takes liberties with her family and knows she can push us.
Skylee even bends to her younger sister’s will. It’s remarkable to see her give in to Sabrina’s demands, but not when you consider Skylee probably sees us give in to Sabrina on a regular basis. Skylee has learned how to smooth out situations as well as any manager or supervisor I’ve ever trained. I’m sure we are a bit dysfunctional as a family because of Sabrina’s outbursts, but what are you going to do?
The other day I had enough. Sabrina was in the process of crying herself horse for some forgettable reason and I decided to try something different. I spanked her and I administered a timeout. Actually the time out came first then she began pounding on the door and wouldn’t stop so I felt a few whacks on the bottom were our only recourse. Predictably Sabrina cried harder, but when I left her threatening a ‘double timeout’ at least she stopped pounding on the door.
Since that time I have given Sabrina one or two more timeouts, but I have not had to spank her again. Her tantrums have become less frequent. I think the spanking actually worked. Just last night we had a situation where Sabrina would have normally gone off. She had reason to complain, and Skylee helped smooth things over. There was no crying. There was no screaming. I did not have to administer a timeout and I haven’t had to spank her again.
Sabrina knows though. She knows now where her behavior can escalate. I am not a spanking advocate, but desperate times called for the extreme. My father used to spank his kids. I don’t believe in spanking and in fact tried it once on Skylee. “You’re joking, right?” She asked incredulously with tears in her eyes. That was the last time I tried to spank Skylee. Hopefully I’ll never feel like I need to spank Sabrina again to get her under control.
At one time I suspected Sabrina might be incorrigible. Now I know she just needed a little stronger parenting, and a whack on the behind.
Andy Falk is a father of two incredible daughters ages born in 2001 & 2003, Skylee
and Sabrina. Andy is very active in the lives of his daughters, from coaching soccer to supporting them during swimming season to just plain doing homework or hanging out. Andy also surfs regularly, bicycle commutes and is a successful Realtor in Marin County, CA. Andy earned his MBA from San Francisco State University with an Internet Marketing concentration, and holds a BA from the University of California at San Diego where he studied and surfed in the 80’s.