Mediation: The Boogey Man

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Parenting is hard. There is just no way around it. Sometimes it feels like you are wrong no matter what you do as a parent. Get too strict with the kids? They rebel. Be to hands-off and passive? They walk all over you. It seems at times that no matter what we do as parents our kids are going to end up changing their names to "Ace", "Snake", or "Texas Pete", getting a tongue stud and joining the World Series of Poker tour.

When I feel like I am totally messing up my children I like to tune in to ABC on Monday nights and watch an episode of Super Nanny. Super Nanny makes me feel better about myself because no matter how challenging things are with my kids, the families featured on that show are in a completely different universe. There are three key lessons that I have learned over the years of watching Joe, the Super Nanny, verbally berate terrible parents on national television:

1) Husband and wife have to be equally engaged and committed to immediately addressing poor behavior.

2) Consequences for bad behavior need to be swift, severe and consistent.


Fortunately for the Normal Mormon Wife and me, our three kids have always slept in their own rooms. At one time or another both of the two older kids made a push to sleep in our bed. Their excuse was normally "I'm scared" or "I had a nightmare" and then they would ask to spend the night with us. Our response was to lovingly tell them, "No way, Jose!" and then barricade our bedroom door like Mel Gibson did to his home after the aliens invaded in Signs. After a few nights of being rebuffed by their parents, our kids took the hint and trudged back to their bedrooms to face off against Freddy Kruger without the assistance of their callous mom and dad.

We are not the only ones who have struggled with getting our kids to sleep through the night on their own. Agents D, S, JD, TJ, M, A, and JB responded to the mediation post by asking for help with the following issue:

"Now for my dilemma: How do I get my 6-year-old to sleep in his own room despite the fact that he's frightened, driven out by his very noisy 2-year-old sibling, and not tired?"

Alright, these are three separate issues and I can help you out with two of them. You are on your own with handling the noisy 2-year-old because there are just too many variables (e.g. do you have open rooms in your house? How hyper is the 2-year-old? What are their bedtimes, etc.) for me to know where to begin.

The first dilemma is how to help your child overcome his fear of sleeping in his own bedroom. Fortunately for you there is a tried and true method for getting rid of the Boogey Man. All you need to do rent the movie Major Payne, purchase a Glock and do the following:

(And yes, I like the movie Major Payne. I am man enough to admit that I am one of seven people on the planet who find this movie funny. Hilarious, even. Fortunately for me, the Normal Mormon Wife is one of the other seven. Every time I go to Wal-Mart I dive into the $5 DVD bin and hope that I will find a copy of Major Payne. The day it gets lumped into the El Cheapo bin along side every Pauly Shore movie ever made is the day Major Payne enters my DVD library. Does anybody else out there like this movie, or have I just lost any semblance of credibility that I had with you?)

The second issue is how to get your son tired enough so that he falls asleep in a relatively short amount of time. I've got to give credit to our 7-year-old Normal Mormon Boy for coming up with the solution to this one. You see, the NMB took it upon himself about a year ago to start waking up extremely early on Saturday mornings in order to maximize his Play Station time. We limit his "video time" (tv, Play Station, computer) to one hour a day Monday-Friday. On Saturdays, however, we loosen up a bit and let him play the PS2 for a couple of hours. This caused the NMB to start waking himself up at like 6:00 a.m. on Saturdays to play Lego Batman, Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Major Payne for an hour or two before the NMW and I would wake up and begin monitoring how long he had been playing on the PS2. The NMB benefits because he gets much more PS2 time on Saturdays. The unintended benefit for us is that he is a zombie by the time his bedtime rolls around at 8:00. He falls asleep on Saturday nights faster than Grandpa Simpson telling a complicated story.

I think my son inherited this attribute from me because I did the same thing as a kid. I used to wake up early on Saturday mornings so that I could watch the Pac-Man cartoon, Pee Wee's Playhouse and play Wings of Fury on our Apple IIG-S computer. Ah, good times.

The solution, therefore, is to purchase a Play Station and an alarm clock and give your son free reign to play it on Saturday mornings. He'll be plumb tuckered out when it's time to go to bed.

Nothing says "effective parenting" like pistols and Play Stations. Oh, well. I'm still doing a better job than most of the dads who end up on Super Nanny.

Somebody get the "M-V-P" chant going for me....

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carmar76 said...

I'm not sure if I'm one of the 7 or if I make #8... But I like Major Payne, too. It's hilarious, and still has a cuteness factor. Heh. I also used to watch the Pac Man cartoon. Totally forgot about it til you mentioned it. I'm slightly more embarassed by this fact than Major Payne.

9:34 PM
Katy said...

Haha! Major Payne! I am proud to say I am one of those 7 people! Great, hilarious movie. And like most everyone else, I screamed "IT'S HILARY!" when Karyn Parsons came on screen the first time. Flashbacks of the Fresh Prince..

10:12 PM
Melanie said...

Count my husband and I in as another two people who love Major Payne. Having spent some time in the military, he can relate to a few things. . .and not the cute parts of the movie. And we even got our copy for $5 in a Wal-mart bin a few years back.

11:46 PM
mama cow said...

I am just glad to read that there is one other set of "heartless" parents out there that cherish their bed as their own. I am a much more loving mother if I am not getting kneed and kicked all night by bony little apendages. Besides that with three kids and one more on the way where the heck would they all go in our queen size bed?

6:53 AM
wonder woman said...

My husband and I make 6 and 7.....major payne is quite amusing. "You might feel a little bit a PRESSHA!!"

8:23 AM
Megan said...

Major Payne is almost a Hall classic... but it's not yet ranked up there with Rocket Man. Did you know there's a Pee Wee Movie coming out in the next year or so?

8:23 AM

Thanks so much! I've been looking for an excuse to get a Glock...

BTW, I forgot the child in question is actually 7. Don't sic the Super Nanny on me, please.

9:25 AM
Admiral Lily said...

My poor parents should have laid down the law because inevitably for the first six or so years of my life all six of us kids would one by one pile into Mom and Dad's bed in the middle of the night and squish between them resulting in Dad being pushed out and going to sleep on the couch. Ironically neither of my sisters - who have kids - who took part in storming mom and dad's bed back in the day allow any of their children to crawl in with them. Apparently they have a "do as I say, not as I do" approach. :D

As for Pee Wee movies. They had a couple come out a few year ago. If they're doing more, heaven help us...

12:45 PM
BigDaddy said...

Excellent post. Viva La Major Payne! Lol. :)

1:58 PM
Quixotic Healer said...

Major Payne (thank you for introducing me to this movie) had the right idea....basically. My Human Development teacher (a rather well reknowned social scientist and author) Dr. Scoresby, told a similar story.

His son was complaining about "Snakes" in his bed. Dr. Scoresby pulled the blankets back, saw his son's striped sheets and, without another word, grabbed a bat and beat the mattress for a few minutes. "There," he told his son," they're dead." And his son climbed in bed and fell asleep.

When we were kids, we couldn't sleep in mom and dad's bed, but we were allowed to sleep on their floor!

3:52 PM
Andymann said...

Major Payne is a classic! The suggestion of the playstation is a great idea. my seven year old will fall for that.

7:33 PM
Col.Smeag said...

My mom solved the bed issue by accident one night, we had a small dog that would try to invade and my Mom would simply kick it off the bed. Apparently one night my sister needed some "nurturing" and could not find a spot so preceded to lay at the foo of the bed...My Moms immediate reaction was to launch the intruder onto to floor... needles to say the problem didn't come up again and my Mom never was able to stop laughing anytime she told the story.

7:47 PM
M-O-R-G-A-N-'S said...

I have a 3-year-old and 6-year-old. We made the mistake of letting the oldest in our bed from age 4 months on. She never went away. Well, we had it cured for a month then went to Italy and Spain before she was 3 and she slept with us, it's never been the same since. The 3-year-old never slept with us until she got sick 2 years ago. So now the girls sleep in our bed and we sleep in their tiny bed. lol It works. They wake up yelling for me, I say are you okay? They say yes I say good go back to sleep. lol If my husband puts them to bed then they go with no issues. I do it and it's a 2 hour ordeal.

We changed the girls bed time to 7:45 which has them asleep by 8:15 at the latest. No TV one hour before bed time, to help wind them down. They have Hula on Friday nights and gymnastics on Saturday mornings, so they are definitely tuckered out on those days. Sticking to the schedule 7 days a week, the girls are waking up earlier and tired out before bed time. For my girls they have to share a bed or they freak out. They are both scared of their actual room, so they use mine and seem to be just great.

So basically I have my kids on a bedtime routine, more time playing outside or with their toys, and less time on the tv/computer/Xbox 360 and doing more activities. Doing more activities has really helped with my kids besides the bed time change and the room change. lol

As for Major Payne, never saw the movie. :o)

1:19 AM

We let a scared child sleep with us for 10-20 minutes (enough to nod off) and ALWAYS went back to thier own bed.

My hubby "killed" the boogie man with deodorant. Unfourantly he used to much and killed the rest of us too.

8:26 AM
Natalie said...

I admit I like Major Payne too! And Pee Wee's playhouse! That show was da bomb. Even if Pee Wee himself has issues.

10:43 AM
Anonymous said...

It would appear that there are many more Major Payne movie lovers out there than 7. I enjoy the movie and own an old VHS copy of it as it was only $5 in a bin somewhere. I find that Major Payne has a lot of great parenting advice.

4:36 PM
Daniel said...

First off major payne is a classic! Now as for kids in bed it is a bad idea. first of all that time should be for you and your spouse to spend some time with each other without having to compete with the kids for attention. Secondly, once you give in it becomes a major battle to get them out again

5:24 PM