Friday, January 29, 2010

Be Ye Kind

We tried an often overlooked, yet effective parenting tactic here at the Koons Zoo over the weekend. For those of you who think we live in a perfectly harmonious where it’s smiles and sunshine all the time, you might not want to read the rest of this. Oh wait a minute you’ve read this blog before you know. You see, Dakota is in the full throes of the PRE pre-teen girl stage. For those of you who do NOT have girls or girls that have reached that special age yet in your household I’ll explain. For those of you who DO have girls in your household and are living it or have lived it can I get an amen? So the PRE pre-teen is the lovely age where our precious little girls “experiment” with attitude, whininess, drama, argumentativeness (not sure if that’s a word but it is now. Is not! Is too! Oh sorry I crack myself up!) and eyerolling in preparation for their forthcoming teenage years. Typically, the experimentation isn’t constant as we do still see glimmers of that innocent, naive, little girl who still wants a kiss goodnight or to bake cookies with Mommy which is what gives us hope that we will survive these treacherous times. But when that sweet little girl goes away and we get a glimpse of the sassy teenage girl, it’s not pretty. We’re there right now with Dakota and it’s no DisneyWorld that’s for sure. I remember people telling me when she was 2 or 3, “Oh boys are so much easier.” And I thought to myself, “Oh they just don’t know. How can they be easier than this perfect, precious, witty, genius, beautiful little girl that I just can’t get enough of?” Ummm….now I know, I REALLY know.
So Dakota our pre preteen has been doing quite a bit of “experimenting” lately and for some reason the brunt of her experimentation lands on Ryder, the youngest. He breathes and she’s annoyed. He tells us about a dream he had the night before and SHE ARGUES WITH HIM ABOUT HIS OWN DREAM. He touches something of hers and THE WORLD HAS ENDED. Now don’t be fooled into thinking that Ryder’s the innocent victim in all of this, he’s not entirely. He’s known to do things for the sole purpose of antagonizing her or to overreact when she lashes out at him. Although sometimes I have to admit that deep down inside I want to give him a high five for giving her what she’s got coming. GASP..I can’t believe I just admitted that to the internet. No worries, I do the responsible mom thing and refrain but it’s tempting at times. Judge me if you must. Anyway, the fighting between the two of them reached epic proportions over this past weekend. EPIC. So much in fact that I pulled out all the hair on half of my head, well not really but you should see GI Joe’s hair, he pulled out a lot.
So on Sunday morning as I’m teaching my Sunday School class that my dear daughter happens to be in, imagine my glee when this was our memory verse, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32. I was giddy excited to make the class recite that over and over and OVER and to stress the importance of applying it to their daily lives. And I may have singled out a certain someone and told her that it also applies to her little brother. We smiled, laughed and I was confident that all of our Ryder/Dakota issues were solved. I mean really, how could she not be a changed girl after such a convincing, heartfelt lesson on kindness right straight from the good Book?
HA! I’m so naive. After Sunday School, we went to our morning church service and I’m happy to report that for a full hour Dakota and Ryder did NOT fight. Never mind, that they didn’t even sit in the same pew or that talking, much less fighting during church is a surefire way to get the wrath of Daddy bestowed upon you. Never mind that, let’s just focus on the small victories here. The victory was short lived the minute we got in the car and IT STARTED. And not just minor quibbles this was full on “RYDER HAS LEPROSY AND HE JUST TOUCHED ME AND NOW I’M GOING TO DIIIIIIIIIEEE!” and Ryder responding by giving her a swift kick to the shin. Oh help us all. GI Joe immediately enacted the “No Talking, Touching, Moving or I Will Pull This Car Over” rule for the remainder of the ride home. And wouldn’t you know it as soon as we pulled in the driveway, it started AGAIN. I, in my mom voice, launched into a special edition Sunday School speech about kindness and asked Dakota to tell everyone what her Sunday School lesson was and asked her if she thought she was living up to that verse by her behavior. Her response, “BUT RYDER DID….” to which Ryder mumbled something not so nice about his beloved sister under his breath.
Oh uh uh. Game over. Rather than driving them deep out into the country and dropping them off at a house with a swingset and telling them to call us when they had reached mature adulthood, we marched them inside and plopped them down at the kitchen table, next to each other I might add. And that’s when GI Joe and I pulled out our A game. We handed each of them a pen and a notebook and a piece of paper with the kindness verse(Eph 4:32, see above) learned in Sunday School on it, along with the instructions that they were not leaving the table until they had each written the verse 25 times AND were able to recite it from memory for us AND were ready to act it out instead of continuing in their sinful, EVIL ways. (Amen, preach it! Oh sorry can you tell both of us have pastors for dads?) There was some moans and groans but then they got to writing and writing and writing. And they did it WITHOUT fighting. We let them break for lunch but then as soon as they were done eating it was right back to it. Dakota finished first. We asked her to recite the verse for us. And she did….THRU TIGHTLY CLENCHED TEETH. I don’t think she was feeling it, so we had her recite it again, this time clearly and enthusiastically. Admittedly, we are very mean parents. J Then Ryder finished writing and recited it for us, no clenched teeth. And believe it or not there wasn’t any fighting for the rest of the hour. Just kidding, it seemed to do the trick at least for the day. Since Sunday, every time we hear them slipping back into the fight pattern we bring up “the verse” and ask if they’d like to write it out 25 more times just to make sure they remember it.
Moral of the Story: Spanking them with scripture, it’s the way to go and much less painful
. What do you think of that DHS?
The "Results" Picture


  1. Just wait PP, JUST times coming ;)

  2. Would it help to point out to her that she has a booger in her nose in the picture that you posted for the entire world to see? I know my 10 year old daughter would probably strike me dead if I was that bold.

    Seriously, I've had to just start laughing at the things she says and at the eye rolling. Of course, that doesn't help her mood that mom is laughing at her, but it keeps me in better spirits!