Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Taffy.... A Real Life Lesson in Reality Discipline

The last section/chapter in the book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman is the best chapter in any book I have read when dealing with the exact how-to's in discipline for any and every situation imaginable. However, because it is extensive (and literally in alphabetical order) it would be impossible for me to go through each and every offense and Dr. Leman's recommendations for how to handle the situation.

Instead, I thought I would end our book club on this book with an example of a recent situation in our own home and how we applied Dr. Leman's recommendations to that situation.  

We lost Taffy. Temporarily.

One of our rules concerning Taffy (or any toy of Addie's) is that if it goes out with us, it stays in the car. However, recently, Taffy came out of the car.  We were running errands and in my efforts to get the car seat and my 3 year old out of the car, I did not notice that Addie brought Taffy in to one of our stops.

Forty-five minutes after our first stop, Addie gasped and said, "Mommy, I don't know where Taffy is!"

We checked the car, car seat, and diaper bag.  No Taffy.

I realized where we had left him.  It was a very public place.  The chances of Taffy still being there were slim to none.

That is when it dawned on me that this circumstance had it's own natural consequence as Dr. Leman has described. Because she had not obeyed, Addie had lost Taffy.

I called Brian and we were both kind of sad about the loss. Taffy had become a part of the family. We were going to miss looking for him at the end of the day when it was time for bed (he always seems to find great hiding places and even his little owner can't find him), having him at the table with his own little bowl and pretend bone, and watching Addie pick him up and give his little nose a million kisses in one shot.

We decided that I should at least call the office we had lost him at to see if he was still there. A sweetheart of a lady answered, and I explained our situation.  She took my number, looked around, and called me back within five minutes.

"I have a sweet little puppy sitting on my desk looking at me. You can let your little girl know he's safe and waiting for her to get him."

I thanked the woman and then I called Grandma L.  I knew she was out and about, I wasn't able to run back out right then (it was nap time and raining), and I wanted Addie to learn a lesson through this.  I explained the situation to Mom and she was right on board with me.

Brian and I decided that we would not give Taffy back to Addie immediately (this was not the first time this type of situation had happened).  We wanted her to understand that her disobedience to our rule had caused the loss of her favorite stuffed animal. She brought Taffy up quite often and talked about how brave he was being at the office, how he was behaving himself, and how she missed him.  Each time it came up we talked about why Taffy was lost and how important it is to obey Mommy and Daddy.

On Monday morning of this week, Brian and I decided that her lesson time was almost over.  I put Taffy in the basket where her Christmas countdown "gifts" are.  He was hanging over the edge just waiting for her.  Addie came and hugged us, and I asked if she was ready to see what her "present" was for today.  She walked to the basket and realized that Taffy was sitting there looking at her.  She picked him up and started kissing his nose and excitedly saying that she found Taffy, he was home, and how she missed him. Her voice almost started sounding emotional at one point.

Brian and I sat with her and taught her one more lesson.  We told her that when we disobey there are always consequences, but because God loves us He gives us a second chance. We also told her that God also uses people to help us.  We told her that Mommy called the office, the lady at the office found Taffy, and Grandma had picked him up.

Once again, Taffy has resumed his post beside Addie at all times.  Addie has told me that she knew Taffy was being a good boy while he was away.  We'll have to check with Grandma about that.......


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