Freaky beatniks

The Simpsons “Hurricane Neddy”

Dr. Foster: Would you please tell your son to stop?

Ned’s Dad: We can’t do it, man! That’s discipline! That’s like tellin’ Gene Krupa not to go [starts banging on the desk] “boom boom bam bam bam, boom boom bam bam bam, boom boom boom bam ba ba ba ba, da boo boo tss!”

………

Ned’s Dad: We don’t believe in rules, like, we gave them up when we started livin’ like freaky beatniks!

Dr. Foster: You don’t believe in rules, yet you want to control Ned’s anger.

Ned’s Mom: Yeah. You gotta help us, Doc. We’ve tried nothin’ and we’re all out of ideas.

———

All that to say, I still really struggle with effective discipline that doesn’t break the spirit.

Like me, Amy’s strong-willed, intense, and sensitive — characteristics that have positive and negative sides. I want to help her maximize the positive and minimize the negative.

Mark and I are so tired of the screaming and shoving reaction to so many little things that upset her, like the mac-n-cheese falling off her fork.

Sometimes, though, she is able to continue pushing through some frustration before she blows up.

We’re also tired of disobedience. And again, I don’t want her to think that it’s wrong to have her own will and pursue it — I just want her to learn that there are limits to how far she can pursue it sometimes.

Sometimes, though, increasingly, she can make her wishes known politely and accept a “no.”

I especially get tired of her messing with my stuff. I appreciate that she’s interested in what I do, and that she often wants to help, but not all my stuff is appropriate for her to play with, and sometimes it’s not something she can really help with.

She does a pretty good job with many things, though. She knows not to take things out of the cabinets or drawers in the kitchen, not to get into my knitting basket, not to take CDs off the shelf, and more.

I suspect, as with most things, that it’s a matter of balance — really, she does quite well, and we do pretty well, too — and that we need to remember the influence of tiredness, hunger, and other stresses.

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