As a child, I watched a lot of Sesame Street. I watched it because I thought it was very cool. The songs were adorable and the Muppet characters were unique. In short, it was a great show, and really held my interest. When I got older, I learned to play some of the songs on the piano, because they were so appealing to me.
One song that was popular on that program was sung by Big Bird or Ernie or Kermit the Frog; the song was called “Everyone Makes Mistakes so why can’t you? Your sister and your brother and….” Basically, it was a testimony to not trying to be so perfect all the time. With the creative lyrics of Jim Henson, the Muppet characters rollicked and rolled to the music while teaching that lesson to pre-schoolers around the world.
I once heard an expert in child psychology say how it is a healthier sign in children when they misbehave at home – around family, showing they are comfortable to let their frustrations out at home. That is healthier than those kids who are perfect little angels at home, and then at school they misbehave.
My grandson showed us that last week when he was at our house one night and said something to me that was what we call in our house, “not so nice.” After he said the “not so nice” phrase, I knew that if his mother were there, she would put him in time out. I also knew that everyone makes mistakes. My choice was either to let it go, because grandmothers are not supposed to discipline, or to give him a consequence.
I chose the latter – not because I wanted to necessarily discipline my grandson when he was at my house. I chose the consequence because I was concerned that I would be setting a precedent for future misbehavior if I didn’t nip it in the bud. So later when he asked me for ice cream, I told him that boys who talk like that don’t get to have ice cream. He tried to test me and beg me for the treat, but this grandmother held to her convictions and did not give in.
Since everyone makes mistakes, I didn’t bring it up again. Nor did I mention the incident to his mommy, and the next time he was over at our house, he was back to his wonderful behavior.
Who would have believed that withholding some ice cream would do the trick of preventing repeat incidents of “not nice behavior” in my little darling Muppet?
And yes, as soon as he showed his good behavior, Mom and I reinforced the big guy with…praise.
We will save the ice cream for another time.