Hey, what's goin on around here?!?

Just finished reading and commenting on a parenting blog. It talked about canceling Christmas to straighten out unmanageable kids. Huh?!?!?! I'm a firm believer in creating consequences for bad behavior that are in no way shape or form a consequence to the parent. Whatever happened to a piece of coal in the stocking?

Okay, so coal isn't easy to come by and if it was is way too messy but a small raw potato in the bottom of the stocking had the desired effect on my little Vincent. I can still picture his face (so maybe I wouldn't be able to if I didn't have it on video) when he got to the bottom and discovered the telling spud.
I remember feigning surprise and sympathy and gently pointing out one or two incidents that may have warranted the shocking tuber all the while trying not to openly enjoy his reaction of obviously setting it apart from his goodies but still giving it the evil eye as he opened the rest of his presents.

Canceling Christmas would have hurt me way too much to use as a "teaching tool". Christmas in itself is an amazing opportunity to teach children so many things! Manners, patience, the thrill of anticipation and graciousness. How to deal with disappointment, how to get the most enjoyment out of opening a gift (how to look at and admire the wrapping paper, smell it, shake it, try and guess what it might be), the enjoyment of giving, the value of tradition. It's a perfect opportunity to discuss gluttony and people that are less fortunate.

My son Vincent is grown now and at Christmas I get to sit back and admire the man he's become. How the effort put into being patient and thoughtful as I raised him has paid off. He's not perfect, neither am I, but it's more often than not that my heart swells with pride. I'm glad I never canceled Christmas to teach him a lesson but rather creatively and at times doggedly stuck with the program of remembering what it felt like to be a kid and try and make parenting decisions based on that.

Hmm as I write this it occurs to me that his room is a bit of mess right now though. Perhaps his stocking may have room for just one small potato, for old times sake.


  1. "My son Vincent is grown now and at Christmas I get to sit back and admire the man he's become." -->That is sweet! And good luck with the potato!

  2. Lara I'm glad you left this comment. Here I was thinking I'm all ready for Christmas and I forgot the potato!


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