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A Lash and a Lesson

Discipline can be tricky, especially when the behavior stumps you

Like most young boys, my 3-year-old has the eyelashes that most of us women long for.

He has those elongated, luscious, dark and thick lashes that tears bead off of when his eyes moisten. I love the way Carson bats his lashes when he begs for another lollipop or one more book at bedtime. It usually works.

Those lashes are beautiful and I have always admired them. He also has that twinkle in his eye that most young children have, but within his sparkle lies a devilish glean, an indication of his innate mischievousness.

The other day after school, while throwing rocks at his grandmother’s fence and knowing he shouldn’t, I looked at him and saw something different than the long lashes he normally sports.

I asked him to come nearer, in my mom-like voice. He knew he was in trouble, so he reluctantly swaggered near. What I had noticed minutes prior wasn’t his new “big boy” haircut, but it was something around his eyes.

I asked him to close his green variegated eyes and he did – and there I saw it. His left set of upper lashes had been clipped, and I was certain I didn’t ask his hair stylist to lob them off.

Immediately I asked, “Carson, did you cut your eyelashes?”

Giving him an opportunity to lie, he took it.

“No, Mommy.”

So I tried again. “Carson, can you come give me a butterfly kiss?”

“Sure mommy,” he said. His butterfly kiss was weakened by the lack of lengthy lashes, so I told him it was hard to feel.

I asked to take a look and then said, “Did your eyelash get a haircut?”

“Uh-huh,” was the answer the second time around. When did this happen, I thought to myself.

“Did you do this at school,” I asked, hoping to shift the blame to someone else.

“No, Mommy, I needed a mirror so I did it in Ashley’s room,” he quickly remarked.

They always keep you guessing. We’ve had impromptu haircuts on my children at their own hands. We’ve had family photo sessions planned where a child tattoos himself minutes before we were set to leave. But taking scissors to your own eye and chopping off an eyelash? That’s a new one, and a dangerous one. Where the heck was I as he took those shears to his eyeballs?

So naturally, I was stumped. What do I do now?  What is an effective form of punishment for this type of behavior? Certainly discussing the dangers, but try that on for size with a rambunctious boy in his threes.

They say there’s such a thing as positive discipline, but I have yet to discover it in my house. I get one part of it, as we employ a discipline model that does not involve hurting the child emotionally, verbally or physically, but there are times, like the lash lobbing, where I struggle to find an appropriate punishment for certain actions.  

What am I supposed to do here – put sleeping eye patches on him when I take a shower? I opted for the obvious, which is to take the scissors from the art caddy when I am not present to directly observe his behavior.

But the situation got me thinking about discipline as a whole and how I need to brush up on my skills before Carson ends up without his other eyelash, eyebrows and a few fingers.

I have always question the name, but positive discipline seems to be the favored method amongst parents these days. But the term seems to contradict itself. I mean, how can I be positive when I am taking away my son’s favorite toy and sending him to his room after he punched his brother? Or the times that my kids get mouthy and say words I don’t approve of – I guess soap in the mouth can no longer be considered positive?

So I will continue to brush up on my discipline skills and maybe even read a book or two on the subject in my quest to employ some positive discipline in my living room.

Who knows, maybe I will be an expert on the subject by the time those lush lashes of Carson’s finally grow back. They do grow back, don’t they? 

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