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Mutual Assured Destruction...toddler style!

The kids have reached an age lately where I'm having to come up with a few basic assumptions about discipline. Time Out doesn't work for a kid who loves his crib. And a talking-to isn't really the best when that same kid turns into a crying mess over a stern warning...any harsh words usually send him asking for milk. Add to that a baby sister who doesn't know when to leave a bad situation alone or screams if you give her a crib time out and you have--tension.

Don't get me wrong, despite the fact that they are more and more occupying the same square foot of carpet, I'm usually very aware of who was at fault. Easy to be judge and jury when 99% of the time it is Cole's jealousy over toys or Leda's need to steal food from Cole. Neither of them respects boundaries well and keeps a firm grasp on their own property.

But what to do when, as a parent, you don't see it happen? Into the future, this will be the norm more than me knowing the full details.

So I'm torn. You can punish the older child for needing to "know better" and be the mature one. That seems unfair. You can punish one who seems to be complaining hardest that they have been wronged...but that seems ripe to game the system.

Which brings me to my favorite, I think. Punish them both. I don't care who did what, you're both at fault. This seems unfair in its own way...someone, every time, is getting punished for something they didn't do. BUT, my take blends nicely with my newer "no timeout, takeaway" philosophy. Because, in the long term, hopefully it leads to fewer conflicts when they realize that if one of them screw up, they both screwed up. Their job is to be good to each other. Look out for each other. They'll quickly learn in the world that they are better as a team against others even if they can't stand each other.

Most importantly, they'll learn that if they value their toys, their movies, to continue having access to games or television or whatever it is...that they better come up with their own strategy to internally deal with it. Because if you appeal to me as the higher authority, I'm taking the toy. Both of you, enjoy your punishment. Everybody loses.

I had been tempted by frequent steel cage matches, but installing a ring in our condo seemed like it would take up a lot of space.

My only problem now is rewards. I somehow anticipate a future of one not doing chores simply because they want to see the other one suffer. lol Hey, nobody said this would be easy.

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