So Coffeeguy and I are having a dispute over this. To him, "stop being a brat" is equal to "end your rude behavior", and that's that. To me, it's name-calling, and while, yes, I want my child to stop acting a certain way, I don't think the use of that particular terminology is going to do anything other than set up a head-butting match. Now I know I suck at staying at home, but I know kids. Coffeeguy often tells me that, in adults, I see them how they could be, the best part of them, but not necessarily how they are. This is true, and I freely admit it. But I think children should be seen that way. We should see their potential, and emphasize that. This is not to say that a punishment isn't in order, a grounding, a lost privilege, etc, but I believe that the way that punishment is rendered is equally as important as the punishment itself. Do I stay calm at every challenging behavior? Hell, no. But I try not to belittle or label the perpetrator. There is no response to "Happyboy, you're grounded because you made a poor decision regarding the sharing of the wii, and you were rude to me when I tried to correct you", because both of those facts are specific, non-judgmental, and true. "Punkgirl, you're grounded because you're being a brat" does not specify behavior...it's very judgemental...and the truth of it depends on your perspective.
So let me get to the part where I suck. Coffeeguy and I are co-parents, all the way. We back each other up, even if we don't agree, and then discuss it in private. So when Happyboy came to me, telling me he "needed to talk to someone", and haltingly revealed all of the things he did wrong, agreed that he should be grounded for doing those things, but sobbed because Daddy called him a brat, and Punkgirl calls him that all the time, I hedged. I agreed that he should be grounded, but I told him that I disagreed with Dad calling him a name...I said that Dad was probably pretty frustrated with him, but that we would talk about it.
Coffeeguy didn't like this convo. He felt that Happyboy was using it to turn the subject away from himself. I disagreed. We sort of left it there. This morning Happyboy was still grounded, and was angry that he had to write a book report (the standard punishment for grounding in our house) "all because Dad called me a brat." I was taken aback, because last night he knew why he had been grounded, and I reminded him of that. So who is right? Does Coffeeguy have a better handle on this, and am I just being a naive enabler? Or am I correct in feeling that it should have been addressed differently? Suck at home moms, let me hear you, how do you handle discipline in your house?