There was an animated network show back in the early 70s called "Wait Til Your Father gets Home". It was poorly drawn and dealt with real-life mature topics. (Not like how Fred Flintstone will convince Stoney Curtis to perform at the Water Buffalo Lodge) The show had an annoying theme song, which still rattles around my head on occasion. I present to you the lyrics:
I love my mom and dad and my brothers too and the groovy way we get along.
But every time the slightest thing goes wrong, Mom starts to sing this familiar song:
Wait ‘til your father gets, until your father gets, wait ‘til your father gets home.
Dad’s not so bad and he seldom gets mad and we aren’t about to desert him
Kids today like to have their own way and what daddy doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
I think my mom’s just swell, but she starts to yell every time we have a blast.
Just wait ‘til your father gets, until your father gets, wait ‘til your father gets home."
See what I mean.
"Wait ‘til your father gets home."We know."
It's the song/show title that bothers me, because it has become an all-too-familiar refrain in the Kreuzer household. My children are old enough to know right and wrong. They are also old enough to occasionally act in a disrespectful manner to their parents, more specifically their mother. I've got a nice baritone and, thanks to years of theatrical training, can project that baritone quite well. Therefore, if my progeny are misbehaving, they will be subjected to a verbal blast projected directly into their face. This tends to dissuade them from future indiscretions.
My wife, Melissa does not possess the same vocal command. When she raises her voice, it can become shrill and I feel loses the command that she wishes it to contain. In turn, the children require much more shrill admonishment before they cease their unruly behavior. Often, Melissa will retreat to the old adage, "wait til your father gets home" (or the like).
This upsets me. When I come home after a long, tough day at the office, I don't want to be told the minute I enter the door that I must "project" at our children who misbehaved 60-90 minutes ago. This leads to 15 minutes of investigation to determine to whom I am to "project", what was the nature of their crime and does it warrant "projecting" at all. I'm tired, my head hurts, I don't want to investigate, "project" or even have a Cosby-esque heart-2-heart.
I am more than willing to share in parental responsibilities. I have "projected" at the kids when warranted. I have had the quiet, serious heart-2-hearts. Sometimes all it takes is a look. I have several in my arsenal (hello? trained actor!), and I find that "seriously disappointed" cuts most deeply.
I guess I just wish that my partner in marriage and child-rearing would find a more effective way to handle the children when they act like, well...children. The funny thing is...she's a teacher, who commands great respect from her students. But I guess that almost any teacher will tell you that it's different with your own kids. At work, the really uncontrollable kids get sent to the principal, which is kinda like "wait til your father gets home'. But after a while, even the principal will tell the teacher that they have to get a handle on the situation.
That's what I feel like at times...the principal who has seen "little Johnny Ne'er-do-well" in his office one too many times. Only, I can't expel my kids. I can banish them to their rooms, but that's like sending a prisoner to Disney World. "You just stay here in Adventure Land until you've learned your lesson!"
When not "projecting", I have used two effective techniques.
1) Have the child sit in a chair in the middle of the kitchen, the only room with no access to television, radio or computer. A set time of nothing but sitting and watching the walls.
2) Remove all the fun devices from the room prior to banishment. TV, radio, Ipod, portable DVD player, cell phone, whatever. You want entertainment? Read a book. Smarten yourself up a little.
Ah, well...I guess I'll just have to suck it up and deal with the issues as they happen.
Anyway, I DO love to project.