Cause and Effect: Why I Made My Son Lick His Brother’s Feet
Today I made my son lick his brother’s feet. If you wonder what madness he has taken over me, then I’ll explain.
I discovered many years ago that if I could use the distraction method combined with cause and effect, I would bring laughter into the situation, but also recognize that the behavior was unacceptable and that the punishment was (generally) appropriate. As a mother of four children I have had many years to learn some tricks.
My 9 and 11 year olds had been running around and having fun until Ash upset Sabian by taking some of the money they had been saving together for iPads. Ash, the 9-year-old boy, ran off with Sabian in hot pursuit, armed with a rubber snake. Ash, finally cornered, was ‘branded’ on his thigh with the rubber snake whip. Ash came running towards me, tears streaming down his little face. An angry red welt demonstrated Sabian’s crime.
“You know, come here right now!”
Now, Sabian would have been expecting the usual response from me regarding his behavior…you know what. The conference on how physical violence is unacceptable behavior and how they are going to take away a privilege.
Why do this when it never works? It doesn’t stop the behavior, it doesn’t change anything. It just makes Sabian more resentful of Ash, as he feels that Ash deserved to be hit, spanked, punched, pinched, punched, or pulled by the hair. Grrr would be my usual response but it accomplishes nothing.
“Ash, have you washed your feet today?”
“Oh well, they’ll have to. Sabian, lick your brother’s feet.”
This made them both stand at attention. I continued…
“You hurt Ash, so you need to lick his feet. This is the consequence of your actions.”
I assumed that Sabian had played dirty, so the punishment had to fit the crime.
They were both laughing, (Ash through his tears). Sabian licked Ash’s feet, which by the way, Ash was very happy to introduce. So I asked…
“Are you feeling better now, Ash?”
“Would you like Sabian to lick the other foot?”
This brought more laughter. And another lick.
It’s amazing how a few simple changes can make all the difference in the degree of difficulty and frustration we experience when we face life’s challenges. These challenges are just that, ‘challenges’. Sometimes we label them as problems, difficulties, injustice, and bad luck. But, seriously? Is that why we face these challenges? Is it possible that challenges are sometimes presented simply to direct us to a better way to approach a situation?
If we stop long enough to realize that we keep experiencing the same challenges over and over again, and wonder why, we might realize something so simple yet so profound. It’s not really about…
‘WHY does this keep happening to me?’
It’s about ‘WHY haven’t I changed the way I approach the challenge?’
Why do these same life challenges keep presenting themselves? Is it possible that we still haven’t learned our lesson?
I would like to tell you that this solved the problem of my boys fighting. Of course not! But later in the night, when another incident occurred, I used this same method and it made me laugh again. They had just enjoyed the effects of a huge flare bomb and now it was burning on the ground. I suggested they turn it off by pissing on it. This method of extinguishing a fire always attracts children. As he put out the fire, Sabian became aware of a stream of urine heading towards him. Ash took another beating.
Sabian ran inside. I followed him a minute later.
“Sabian, did you wash the foot that Ash urinated on?”
“Oh well, it’ll have to work. Ash has to lick your foot for peeing on you.” This brought a lot of laughter until I announced the next part of the punishment.
“Oh and Sabian, you need to lick Ash’s foot for hitting him and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t washed his feet yet.”
Needless to say, they called a true!
I was recently talking with a friend about some challenges she was experiencing. She had been hearing about the challenges for years. Nothing had changed. I just said, ‘So why do you keep dealing with the challenge the same way every time if nothing changes? If it didn’t work the first time or the second time or every other time, then STOP! STOP doing the same thing over and over again and hope something changes.
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein was a very wise man indeed. I’m sure he would have enjoyed my unorthodox methods.
My friend and I discussed some strategies. Some of these were used that night and my friend reported a few shifts.
Many people will read this article and say ‘I knew that’. Much of what I have learned and discovered through life’s challenges is simply logical. But it is very important to remember what we already know or wish we had known.
So the next time the same challenge presents itself in our lives, it helps to stop and ask ourselves if we need to STOP! STOP repeating the same reaction to the challenge. If it hasn’t worked so far, it probably never will. The challenge is in our thinking.
A conscious decision to change my thinking has reminded me to unearth all those life lessons I’ve learned and start putting them back into action. Personally, I have spent a lot of time thus far bogged down in seeing life’s challenges as problems. Once I stopped reacting to them the same way over and over again and getting the same, ineffective results, I eventually moved to a different space.
“Why be you when you could be new?” (from the animated film ‘Robots’)
It’s not so much about giving up being yourself to succeed in life. It’s about being a new improved version of yourself, drawing on life lessons already learned or new life lessons in finding new ways to deal with challenges and new ways of looking at those challenges. I see myself as a success story because I have finally learned to apply what I already know to my life. I have participated in two intensive self-development programs. Both were beneficial, but I quickly forgot to keep applying what I had learned. If you don’t practice a skill regularly, you lose it to some degree.
My nephew, who also participated in a personal development forum, used a new skill on a stalker. He had been harassed by this bully for some time. Every morning, the bully would grab my nephew’s backpack and throw it into the street while he waited for the school bus to arrive. Usually my nephew got angry. After returning from Melbourne, where he had been on the show, he decided to stop reacting the way he always had and apply a new method he had learned on the forum.
“Thank you for paying so much attention to me.”
That was all he said. The bully was surprised. He didn’t know how to react, so he didn’t say anything and he never threw my nephew’s bag again. Instead, they actually became friends. It’s funny how things can change so drastically with just a simple tweak in strategy.
I am now committed to regularly reading and listening to positive material that will help me in my new way of life. I have seen the benefits in a short time. Some of these changes have been instantaneous… CAUSE AND EFFECT. I’m so glad I didn’t have to lick someone’s dirty feet to figure it out. As a result of this change in my thought and action patterns, I feel happier. I am optimistic and my children are definitely benefiting from these changes. I am letting go of old ways that didn’t work for me the first time, the second time, and every time after that. I am ready to finally reach my full potential. I am giving up my resentment towards the people who have hurt me because I have decided to take back my power. I am finally in control of my own happiness.
What about you? What areas of your life need to change so that you can get off the merry-go-round and get nowhere fast?
Tash Majenta 🙂