♥ The Discipline of Squats
“How’d you learn to kick a field goal like that, son?” the football coach asked after my son kicked a 45 yard field goal in the 8th grade.
“Squats, sir,” he replied.
“Squats? What do you mean by squats?” the coach asked.
“Hundreds of squats, sir,” he answered.
‘Why did you have to do hundreds of squats, son?” the coach persisted.
“Because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, sir,” he explained.
Squats have become the punishment of choice in our house. We tried the wooden spoon, corporal punishment, time out, early bedtime, even rocks. Each have their time and place, but each also have their limitations. You can only spank so much, some children are quite content in time out, early bedtime is sometimes more of a relief button for the parents than a real solution. Now the rocks. The rocks had so much potential.
A rock removal activity to instill self-control, that is. A great solution! Our new house had a yard filled with rocks. When the boys back-talked, argued, or stepped out of line, they had to pick up a particular amount of rocks, removing them to the rock pile. A great disciplinarian alternative that produced results on all levels: attitude change, behavior change, and landscape change.
Until we ran out of rocks! We just weren’t comfortable shipping a new load in for punishment purposes.
One day, I was in Wal-Mart. Our town doesn’t have a mall, but we finally got a SuperStore Wall-Mart! Two of the boys started arguing and wrestling. It wasn’t pretty. This was not how I visualized motherhood.
The boys had been discussing wall-sets a few days before. The P.E. coaches apparently used wall-sets for punishment. I didn’t have a wall, but, hmmm. It wasn’t a big jump from wall-sets to squats–all that upper-thigh work-out and all. You can do squats at Wal-Mart, in the church lobby, on the side of the highway, in front of a police officer. Child-services won’t take your kids away for doing squats!
Different children “ask” to do more squats than others, though.
“Are your knees telling you to keep your mouth shut, yet?” my husband asked one son during one squat event. Prudence can sometimes be a difficult trait to develop.
The other day, my two youngest were arguing. One punched the other. Then fists were flying. Sons hitting sons must be the most awful thing they can do in the presence of their mother. The myriad range of emotions leave me speechless: fury, gut-wrenching conflict because you love both unconditionally and enormously, the frazzeling shortening circuit of my nerves, and those short-term feelings of failure, and just total befuddlement because they know punching is not acceptable.
Both faces expressed outrage. Both mouths blamed the other. One set of eyes flashed the injustice. The other set of eyes welled with tears.
I know how Solomon felt when he was called upon to determine the guilt and innocence of the two women determined to be given custody of the baby. All he had was hearsay. That’s all I have most of the time. What a quandary! The solution? No, I didn’t threaten to slice anyone in half!
Fifty squats! Holding hands with arms crossed, facing each other, each set of feet in one tile block, saying, “I am in trouble because of you. You are in trouble because of me.” If anybody whines, stops, or steps out off their tile block, an additional 25 is tacked on.
By the end of the squats, they are laughing and hugging each other. Yeah, they are still more little than big.
I remember a set of brothers getting into a fist-fight in my yard. They were about 11 and 13. I called their mother and told them that if they ever did that again, I would pull the hose out on them. The best ideas come after the fact. I waited and waited, but they never did fight in my yard again.
I’m ready if my older boys do this. Of course, if they would start fighting inside, I’d have to direct them outside. Would that be encouraging them to fight? I hope not. I do think a good dousing with a waterhose would definitely extinguish a heap of rage. Part of me wants to see if my solution works; the other doesn’t want the opportunity.
One of my sons had to write, “I will neither provoke, incite, nor encourage my brothers to negative behavior.” He had to write that 100 times. Why is it 14 year olds want provoke, incite and encourage their younger siblings, baiting them, building up their ire, and then, “BOOM,” the entire house explodes? He still cries, “Injustice” about that punishment today.
Another son does not like to listen to lectures, so I write them up. He
hears” everything on that sheet of paper. It takes me out of the picture, so he listens better.
We ground, take away privileges, add chores, and pray for guidance on how to lead these young men.
Discipline constantly evolves. Different situations require different reactions. Different personalities require different reigning-in-techniques. No discipline is not a choice. No discipline says, “I don’t care enough about you to make me uncomfortable.” The irony of a parent’s discipline? It says, “I love you.”
The kicker hasn’t got in trouble as much lately. Upper-thigh development is now self-inflicted if he wants to produce the same yardage. I guess there’s a point where parental discipline becomes self-discipline!
That has GOT to be one of the best things I’ve heard when “disciplining” a child. We do the bean approach — our children earn a certain number of beans for completing chores or doing other things they’re supposed to do. They can turn them in for a prize, or save them for a bigger prize. If they misbehave, fight, back-talk, etc. beans get taken away. But they’re little, and I’ve wondered what I’ll do as they get older.
And now I know. 🙂 THANK YOU for your words!
Wow. Squats, huh? I’m gonna have to write this down for future reference. However, I think my 3.5 year old is old enough to pick up rocks now, and I have a whole back yard full of them. Thanks for the idea!
I think this is fabulous advice from a wise mommy! I believe in matching the punishment to the crime, but you really gave some concrete and useful examples. This is my favorite:
“Another son does not like to listen to lectures, so I write them up. He hears” everything on that sheet of paper. It takes me out of the picture, so he listens better.”
Squats…I’ll have to remember that. And writing something 100 times… I’m going to keep that in mind too. My kids have whiteboards in their rooms, so that would be the perfect spot to write it. 🙂
I’m definitely going to keep that in mind for my future children. Thanks so much for your lovely comment on my blog. I really appreciate the prayers.
I like your idea about squats! I wish my mom had done that with my brothers, they still fight like cats and dogs!!
Your marriage advice is great! I need to remember to do those things when we argue!
I checked out the post you linked to. Its very good. how long have they been married now?
Since June 20
I love this line: “This was not how I visualized motherhood.”
Even though I know full well I will one day have my own boys fist-fighting in Wal-Mart, I will certainly savor the time now when one is too little to do much of anything outside of the realm of pooping, peeing, crying, and eating.
I so needed this post again… and the great idea of squats.
I love what you ended with, about the fact that discipline is constantly evolving. You are so right. What great encouragement to continue showing our children how much we love them by guiding and correcting them!
Thanks for you comment on my blog today too-
Such a great wealth of information and insight! Thanks for visiting! God bless you and your family always.
Now that’s what I call inventive discipline.
Love this post!
I have two boys~ I can not imaging five!
Thanks so much for stopping by on my SITS day last week! That was great;)
I caught my 5 years old punching my 3 year old just the other day (my 3 year old punches too – not that he deserved this one). I ended up taking a favorite toy away from my 5 year old. I have not had another incident since.
But, I like the squats/exercise idea! Especially when they get older.
I am a runner and our neighborhood is a half mile loop. So I think when they are old enough I’ll just send them out for a couple laps around the development.
Sons hitting sons must be the most awful thing they can do in the presence of their mother.
From my own perspective I have to disagree. Sons hitting daughters, especially little ones, has to be the most awful thing they can do in the presence of their mother.
Okay, I think I love this blog.
From now on, when I need parenting advice for my son, I’m coming to you.
I just read your squats thing to my husband and he’s teaching our son to do them as I write!
Ouch! That is hilarious but effective!
I love it! Thanks for stopping by my blog!
I am SO trying this today. Genius!!!
Daredevil starts football camp this summer. I call this some pretty cosmic timing!
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If children don’t have guidance and that include discipline, then they won’t understand and appreciate authority and society when they grow up and that leads to a lot of trouble. It’s called disrespect if they don’t understand discipline. What a fantastic idea for “squats” – healthy – yet gets the point across. This is priceless:
“Are your knees telling you to keep your mouth shut, yet?”
Wonderful advice. I am all for creative punishing, but am horrible at coming up with things. Plus it’s nice to hear that it’s ok to discipline- society today can sometimes make us feel like we are horrible parents if we punish our children, when, infact, just the opposite is true.
I so wish I would have read this a long time ago. Creative discipline does not come easily to me so I’ll be sharing this with my dh. Our five boys may be in for a surprise the next time they backtalk or pick on each other. 😉
Bless you for being willing to teach your children the truth: that there are consequences for behaviors, that respect is important, that the world does not revolve around them, that they are not victims without options!
I’m a high school teacher, and the level of entitlement I see from my students these days is enough to make me retire a couple of decades early…
Good advice. My sons are so well behaved when they are worn out:)
Oh.my.gosh! This is fantastic. You should write a book about your experiences. So many Moms of boys could use this post –and others like it. (I only had one boy and he was “easy” to raise, thanks to his no-nonsense older sister.)
I shall remember “squats” forever. Thanks! (Who knows what will come with grandchidren?!?!)
Thanks for joining us for Marriage Monday today, Blue Cotton Memory.
Hugs, e-Mom ღ
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