My wife and I have an infant son named Ivan. He is one-year old. Ivan is very concerned that parents do right by their children (he is especially worried about my parenting skills). Ivan has decided to help out new parents by issuing a regular newsletter called: #TeamIvan’s: News From The Crib (#68) — Beginning Discipline
1. My husband and I have a one-year old. I’ve heard this is the time to begin discipline. Is that right? First of all, sit. Now stay. Now roll over. Now, play dead. And, while you’re lying there, yes, it’s time for discipline.
2. How do we start? Well, for one thing, you and your husband could develop some discipline in your eating habits. A woman with a man’s beer gut, and a man with boobs bigger than a woman does not make for an attractive household.
3. Seriously, I’ve heard we should start introducing the word “no.” Is that correct? Yes it is. You should say “no” to yourself whenever you look at donuts, ice cream or cake. Your husband should say no to beer. And, you both should say “no” when you think about having sex with each other, because frankly no one and I mean NO one can stand the sight of you.
4. Will the baby understand “no?” Absolutely. However, like virtually all people everywhere, the baby will interpret “no” to mean “yes.”
5. If that’s the case, how about employing an “out of sight, out of mind” strategy when the baby gets into things he shouldn’t? “Out of sight, out of mind” sounds good but it doesn’t work. Ask anyone who’s in the middle of a bad breakup.
6. My friend suggested that we simply distract our son when he’s doing something he shouldn’t, rather than trying to discipline him. What do you think? I think that’s why ESPN was invented. I also think using distraction instead of discipline is why today’s younger generation does whatever they feel like, especially texting while they walk and drive. If you want a kid who’s well-mannered and will contribute to society, man (or woman) up and do the hard work to enforce some discipline. If you want to have a kid who’s the star of a reality show about kids who are cartoon character-type people, then I say go with the distraction route.
7. Another friend suggested that my husband should be the one to enforce discipline because children react to a man’s deeper voice. Is that true? Yes, it’s true. Children react to a father’s deeper voice by saying “Dad, Mom says it’s okay” and then going off to do whatever it was that Mom said they couldn’t do.
8. Will the baby understand that when we say “no” we’re trying to protect him from harm? Are you joking? When your ex-fiancee broke off your wedding engagement with you 12 years ago and said “no, I will not marry you” did you understand that he was trying to protect you from harm? No, you thought he was an assh*le, you threw all his stuff out a 3rd story window, and you cyber-stalked him for six months. Point is, no one ever understands or believes that anyone else is ever doing anything for their benefit, because unless you’re Mother Theresa, you’re not.
9. What are some other ways to start establishing discipline in our house? Well, I’m sure that your husband would like some light bondage and some S & M for starters, seeing how he’s a weird sicko.
10. Seriously, how do we set discipline for our son? Why don’t you try setting a good example?
Alex Barnett is a comedian-writer based in New York City. He writes News from the Crib, a parenting blog about his experiences as a new father. Barnett has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CNN.com and NYC-TV, and has performed at clubs, colleges and venues throughout the country. Barnett, a winner of the 12th Annual Gilda’s Club Laugh-Off, is a member Comedians at Law, a group of six comics who all left the law to pursue their dream. Fans can visit him at www.alexbarnettcomic.com, find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.