Parenting: Does discipline require isolation?

My daughter, known around here
as “Monkey,” at age 22 months.

Isn’t she a cutie?!

HELP! I’m stuck in rewind. Stuck in my head is a particular conversation from yesterday. It just won’t leave me alone. I don’t know how to get rid of it. I’m going mad!

OK, OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But I do need to stop thinking about it.

We were talking, a group of us, about parenting and about getting our kids to do what we need them to do. As parents, we are cheerleaders, encouragers, sounding boards, and loving supporters. However, being parents also means that sometimes we simply have to get our kids to DO something. The something might be “don’t run into the street” or it might be “buckle your seatbelt” or it might be “stop pounding on your brother.”

There were a lot of good ideas around the table. Some came from experience, and some came from imagination. Everyone was engaged, and interested in the discussion. It was fun, and interesting.

One lovely woman who I don’t know very well spoke up. She has two small boys, ages 2 and 4. She described her husband’s discipline technique. She said that whenever one of the kids was doing something he shouldn’t, her husband sends the child to his room. She described it as a quiet, relaxed move; her husband picks up the child and tells him that he needs to stay in his room. The isolation, she said, is a punishment that works.

Then she continued, “you’d think that this might engender some resentment from the kids, but in fact the opposite is true. When they come back downstairs, they are incredibly sweet and loving to their dad. I guess they just really need limits and they love him for setting boundaries.”


I realize that this is a loving couple whose children will most likely not be scarred for life from such a thing. No reason to make mountains out of molehills.

But it makes me so sad…

This is my two cents. You don’t have to agree, of course, I welcome differing opinions.

If you routinely isolate your child when he misbehaves, what’s the bigger message? Yes, you may get “better” behavior, if what you mean by “better” is “more compliant.” You may have a child who does what you want when you say you want it. But aren’t you also teaching him that when he misbehaves, you will withhold your love?

I have an entirely different view from these well-meaning parents. To me, it seems that the boys are not “sweet and loving to their dad” because they crave limits. I would guess that they act that way because they need reassurance. The dad made it clear to the child that if his instructions are not followed, the boy will be isolated from the family. After being banished to his room, the boy needs to check in and be sure that his dad still loves him. Which means that, at least on some level, the child has doubts.

I hope my kids know that they always have my love. Even if they make a mistake. Even if they do something that they shouldn’t have. Even…well, even no matter what.

That doesn’t mean that any behavior is acceptable. There are consequences for misbehavior. But those consequences do not include withholding of love. Love is something they get from their mom, unconditionally.

We’ve already discussed in a previous post that I’m not afraid of sibling rivalry. So it’s clear that I may be, let’s say, somewhat outside the mainstream on this issue as well.

What do you think? Am I being too sensitive? Or does this story make you sad, too?


Posted in Family, Kids, Observations | 10 Comments

Tasty Tuesday: Banana Cranberry Muffins

It’s time again for Tasty Tuesday. On Tuesdays I typically share a recipe, a cooking tip, or some combination of both. :-) You can always find all the Tasty Tuesday posts by clicking on the words “Tasty Tuesday” in the menu bar above or in the list of categories on the right.

Astute readers will notice…today is NOT Tuesday. Yeah, well, uh, the thing is, I wanted to put this recipe up as soon as I could after Thanksgiving, since it involves using up the leftovers. And apparently “as soon as I could” turns out to be a bit later than I had hoped. So, since it’s almost Tuesday, I thought maybe I’d just slip it in the regular recipe spot. Ahem.

So, back to business. This is a wonderful recipe to use up some of that leftover cranberry sauce. My beloved (known around here as Tiger) recently introduced me to the pleasure of homemade cranberry sauce. Who knew it was so easy, and so delicious? (Well, obviously, Tiger knew. And, um, lots of other people knew. But *I* didn’t know. And that’s what counts, right?) Anyway, since I knew how delicious the cranberry sauce was going to be, I may have slightly overestimated just how much would be eaten on Thanksgiving.  And by “slightly overestimated” I mean I made about 3 times more than we needed.

But never fear! I abhor food waste (and if you haven’t read this post on the Non-Consumer Advocate about Thanksgiving food waste,  you should!), so I found a wonderful way to use up some of that lovely cranberry sauce. I made Banana Cranberry Muffins for the morning after Thanksgiving, and they were duly enjoyed by all. So, if you still have cranberry sauce leftover (like I do 🙂 ), or if you just want to plan early for next year, here’s the recipe. Enjoy.

Banana Cranberry Muffins

printable version of the Banana Cranberry Muffin recipe

1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, drained¹
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1¾ cups flour
2 tsps. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 cup mashed banana
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

(¹If you don’t have extra cranberry sauce, don’t worry. It’s easy as can be. Combine 2 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, stirring regularly, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until berries begin to pop. Drain and set aside to use in the recipe.)

In a large bowl, mix shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add bananas. (Wondering how to mash a banana? Here’s a photo of how I do it.)

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add them to the wet ingredients all at once.

Now I will let you in on a secret. For lighter muffins, do not overmix. The more you mix, the heavier your muffins will be. Instead, mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Then, fold the cranberry sauce and walnuts in gently, again being careful not to overmix.

Grease your muffin tins and fill them 3/4 full. Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Eat, and enjoy!

This post is linked to: Tasty Tuesdays at Beautiful Mess and at Beauty and BedlamTempt My Tummy TuesdaysSlightly Indulgent Tuesdays, and Tuesdays at the Table.

Posted in Baking, Recipes, Tasty Tuesday | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

What’s for dinner — tonight!?

“What are you making for Thanksgiving dinner?” seems to be the question of the week. I don’t know why. I don’t recall hearing that question so often in the past. I wonder: are folks expecting that I’ll be making something so unusual? Do they think that I have suddenly developed a new sense of culinary creativity? Um, well, that would be a big, fat: NO. Really, my Thanksgiving menu plans are not too different from everyone else’s.

I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house, for the very first time. So for me this year, the big deal is that I’ll be making my first turkey. Of course, I have enlisted Tiger (as my fiance is known around here)’s help. We’re following Alton Brown’s recipe for roast turkey (note the 2 short videos showing how he does it, too). Wish me luck!

Since this is my first Thanksgiving with Tiger, I asked him if there were any foods that make Thanksgiving feel like, well, Thanksgiving. I mean, I would hate find out after the fact that without Swiss Chard, Almond & Buttermilk Dip his Turkey Day just wouldn’t be the same. (Luckily, that didn’t actually come up!) It turns out that his list was quite similar to my own, with only the addition of a side dish of peas and pearl onions. Easy peasy. [Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.]

The only thing that makes our meal somewhat unusual is that the entire meal (with the possible exception of some of the desserts) will be non-dairy. In the main, our menu is quite traditional. I’m sure the food will be good, and mostly I look forward to hanging out with friends and family and having a relaxed day.

But after all that thought and effort around getting ready for the big meal, I always wonder what people are having for dinner … tonight! After all the planning and organizing and getting ready for tomorrow’s meal, how much effort do you put into tonight’s? Since you know that tomorrow you are going to eat very well, what are you eating tonight?

I’m planning a simple meal of fish, rice, and broccoli. Easy and quick, and light, in preparation for tomorrow!

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone.

[Apologies to my non-U.S. readers. I know that our “Thanksgiving” holiday is completely U.S.-centric. For anyone who is not celebrating this week, I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing week! ]

Posted in Happiness Project, Recipes | 6 Comments

5 Things That Make Me Happy (and 2 That Do Not)

Katy, who writes one of my favorite blogs, the Non-Consumer Advocate, posted recently about 5 things that make her happy. But that’s not enough for her, no way. She felt the need to temper it with 2 things that tick her off.

And I love it.

I love it so much that I may have to make it a regular feature here at 1SentenceDiary. These are just the first 5 things that come to mind, today.

5 Things That Make Me Happy Today:

  1. Monkey (as my daughter is known around here) made her own Halloween costume, and it is adorable! She designed it herself, and we all had a great time helping her to create it (though she did most of that as well).
  2. The weather is supposed to be decent around here for Halloween. The holiday is so much more fun when the weather cooperates.
  3. I had breakfast this morning with an old, no, I mean a long-time friend. Her life is extremely challenging at the moment, so I was extra-glad to get to spend some time with her. But the truth is, I’m always glad to see her, under any circumstances.
  4. Tiger (as my boyfriend is known around here). No more needs to be said. Tiger makes me happy.
  5. Craft projects with the kids. Today’s project, at my daughter’s insistence, was candles. Watching the kids working together, dipping wicks into melted wax. Priceless.

[If you want to see more photos of the costume or the candle-making, head on over to my Facebook page.]

And now, for balance, 2 things that annoy me:

  1. Cleaning up after craft projects with the kids. Although they help, it’s still a lot of work.
  2. Wondering what in the world we are going to do with all those candles…

So now it’s your turn. What are your 5 / 2 things?

Posted in Happiness Project, Random | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

What’s your favorite?

Friends say to me: I want to start reading your blog. Where should I start? And believe me, I’m flattered. I mean, there’s NO PRESSURE to read it, comment, talk about it, tweet it, or whatever. 😀 [Not that I would mind, of course.] The blog is just for fun and I hope that others enjoy it. So I tell them to just pick up wherever they want, to choose a category from the right side of the page, or to start at random.

But that doesn’t seem to satisfy them.

What do these folks want?

The answer seems to be that they want a list of my own favorite posts. Why, you ask? Well, Virginia (as in, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus“), I’m guessing that they want to skim through a few posts rather than reading all 53. (Yes, that’s right, there are FIFTY THREE posts on this blog. Well, I suppose that after this one is published, and you are reading it, there will be 54!)

It was very difficult to narrow it down. Because, you know, ALL my posts are fantastic! [And by the way, I’m very modest, too!] But somehow I did. So if you are interested, read on for the list of my own favorite posts.

Which post is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.

Posted in Happiness Project | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Seven Fads That Have To Go

Lately I have found myself annoyed as all get out by some of these ridiculous trends. Come on, you know you are sick and tired of these, too. What would you add to my list?

  1. Fancy clothes for pets. I mean really, I can live with the fancy pet toys and the expensive pet food. But recently I saw fur-trimmed pet clothing. FUR! As clothing for, you know, animals! Anyone else see the irony?
  2. People wandering around in public without enough clothes. Pu-leeeez, lady, put some pants on! Those shorts are so short I can see, well, a lot more than I want to see. And sir, I have no desire to see every single fat cell in your belly. Would it kill you to wear a shirt long enough to cover it up?
  3. Closely related to the lack of clothes phenomenon, though not as egregious, are the jeans worn so low that they are dangerously close to falling off. Seriously, how hard is it to pull up your pants? I find this “fashion trend” completely incomprehensible. And yet, it takes place in my own home. Remember, I am the parent of a teenage boy.
  4. Make a video for [fill in the blank] and win” contests. OK, at first it was clever. Get the consumers to make the ads, to feel like they are somehow part of the brand. I hate ads anyway, but the multitude of “enter to become a spokesperson for…” type of campaigns has really gotten under my skin.
  5. Loud cell phone conversations in public places. I once heard a woman on a cell phone on the train discussing her agony over whether or not to have an abortion. Seriously, I would not kid about something like that. I felt terrible for her, as she was obviously in the grip of much emotional pain. Still, I didn’t need or want to hear her conversation.
  6. Over-sharing of photos. You know what I mean. I love looking at photos of my friends’ kids, vacations, and events on Facebook or via email. Being able to share photos electronically, easily, and quickly is fantastic. 5 photos, I love it. 10 photos, wonderful (I’m a sucker for a cute kid in a photo). 200 photos? Please, please, just say no!
  7. Antibacterial everything. Obviously, I’m in favor of hand-washing before eating, and after using the bathroom. Hospitals are a place where I think extra precautions are reasonable. But I feel no need to Purell every time I leave the house. When I was kid, we actually got dirty. And somehow or other, we did survive.

What fads and trends are getting under your skin? Please share them below in the comments.

Posted in Observations, Random | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Tasty Tuesday: Homage to The Non-Consumer’s Burritos

It’s time again for Tasty Tuesday. On Tuesdays I typically share a recipe, a cooking tip, or some combination of both. :-) You can always find all the Tasty Tuesday posts by clicking on the words “Tasty Tuesday” in the menu bar above or in the list of categories on the right.

Long ago, my friend Katy wrote about the wonders of homemade tortillas. They sounded so good, I thought I’d try it. But I could not find the tortilla mix she recommended anywhere in my area. I looked and looked and looked, went to several Hispanic markets, and asked everyone I could think of. No luck. I even looked it up on the Quaker website. The shipping cost seemed outrageous. Finally, I gave up the chase.

And then, I went to Seattle. A quick trip to Fred Meyer (the store that Katy mentioned), and the coveted tortilla mix was in my hot little hands. Finally, tonight, in my mother’s kitchen, I made burritos for my mom, my brother, and his family. With homemade (from the mix) tortillas.

Are you wondering how they came out?

They were fantastic! Terrific. Wonderful. Delicious. So different from store-bought tortillas, and so much better. Everyone loved them. There was discussion of how else to use them: with butter and cinnamon for breakfast, wrapped around eggs and cheese like a rollup sandwich, with a bit of melted cheese like a ‘white pizza.’ But the burritos were so darn good, I’m thinking that we may never try any other method.

I’m really hoping I have room in my suitcase for a couple of bags of this stuff!

I do think we’ll have to institute Katy’s family rule: you have to eat a full burrito before you can eat a plain tortilla. A rule that applies to the adults as well.

Thanks for the recommendation, Katy. We loved it.

Posted in Tasty Tuesday | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments