I have noticed an amusing trend: when I dole out some sort of punishment for whatever latest infraction my seven-year-old has committed, he bounces around like a ping-pong ball through the 5 Stages of Grief.
First is Denial. “I didn’t hit him!” he cries out, indignant.
Once I inform him that I saw the whole thing, the next stage sets in: Anger/ Resentment. “Well, he started it!”
“It doesn’t matter,” I reply calmly, having been through this a few million times before, “I am taking away his Pokemon cards, and you have lost your computer time.”
Abruptly, we switch to Bargaining. “Mom, I promise I will never hit him again, if I can just have my half hour of computer time back. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeze?”
Once that little plea has been rebuffed, we maneuver on over to Depression. “All my friends get to play on the computer! Waaaaaaaaaaaah!” Then I hear a door slam. He is off to mope by himself.
A few minutes later, eyes red and puffy, he reappears. I’m hoping we have reached the final stage: Acceptance. “Okay, Mom. Can we go to the library later? I want to get a couple new books to read, since I can’t play on the computer today.”
Then, in a warped form of postponed retaliation, the four-year-old hits him. And we start the cycle all over again.
(“Monitor Of Vindication”)