Law & Order: SDU (Stupid Daddy Unit)

“Punishment” has become a recent topic in our house. When I was growing up, there were three “go to” punishments that my parents doled out: 1) Taking away toys, 2) Taking away television privileges, and 3) “Go to your room.” I currently have an immaculate collection of original G.I. Joes, Transformers, He-Man action figures, and Hot Wheels because I was rarely allowed to play with them. They are currently in my garage in air-tight, hermetically-sealed containers. If I hold onto them for another fifteen years, they will be valuable enough to pay for my kids’ college tuition!

And, I’m a child of the 80’s – we didn’t have DVRs. If you were not allowed to watch television and you missed something that aired, you were screwed. It was never going to air again! Missed that very special episode of “Family Ties?” Too bad. Miss the episode of “Miami Vice” where Calderone finally gets caught? Your loss.

And finally, “being sent to your room” really was a punishment. We didn’t have televisions or stereos in our rooms. All we had were four walls, a bed, and a couple of books.

I have a theory that it was easier for my parents to punish me as a child than it is for me to punish my son…and here’s why: My parents were not interested in the things I was interested in, so to take them away didn’t really affect them. On the other hand, I really like the things that Justin likes!! I like Television and Spongebob and Transformers and Legos (except at night) and Annoying Orange and Angry Birds, and Batman, and….you get the idea.

So, when Justin puts us in a position to take away his television privileges, it’s actually ME who suffers!! I like TV! I worked hard all day and I want to watch something stupid! Hell – part of my job is to watch television!! One night, we told Justin that as part of his punishment he was not allowed to watch television. He cried, threw a tantrum, and stormed off to his room. Five minutes later, I walked into his room only to discover him watching movies on my iPad. I was pissed! “Justin!! What do you think you’re doing??” I said. “Mommy and I said ‘no TV’.” He yelled back at me “IT’S NOT TV, DADDY!!! IT’S AN IPAD!!”

When Justin becomes defiant or breaks the rules, we must take away a toy. But it is still ME who suffers because that’s one less toy Justin and I can play with. And “go to your room” is not a punishment when your room has more toys than “Toys R Us!!” I can’t remember the last time I saw the floor in Justin’s room. It is covered in stuffed animals, Lego pieces (like it’s a minefield), Squinkies, and other random toy pieces.

So here is my message to Justin – Stop getting into trouble!! You are only five and I have already run out of punishments for you that don’t directly affect me!!



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