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Mutual Assured Destruction

Ah, the wonderful world of toddlerhood, a magical land where parents can’t win and few things are ever easy. Take the subject of punishment for instance. When you try and discipline a two and a half year old it rarely goes well. I speak of course about the great phenomenon known as ‘punish him, punish yourself.” This paradox usually manifests itself when running errands. Parent: If you don’t stop screaming, kicking or biting right now we will leave this bank. Toddler: Okay. I want to leave. Parent: not cool, you have called my bluff, I actually need to stay here and wait in line. However, the perfect example of the punishment paradox is in matters of ice cream. Parent: If you don’t stop throwing things we can’t go to Dairy Queen. Toddler: I have now gone into the red and have reached a level 10 tantrum. Parent: Great, now you have deprived me of ice cream. I can’t wait until I can ground him and get ice cream while he stews in his room.

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