Does this make me a bad person?

Does this make me a bad person?

In the Lost and Tired family, we don’t believe in spanking or hitting.  So we have to do a lot of outside of the box thinking.

We recently took in a puppy a couple of months ago. Bella has been a great edition to the Lost and Tired family. Although she doesn’t require some patience and training.

Elliott and Emmett are requiring a great deal of time, energy and most of all, patience.  I’m becoming increasingly overwhelmed and frustrated by their behavior. Their are both fanfreakingtastic kids and I love them completely.

Having said that, sometimes I find myself wanting to use the training methods from Bella as a means of deterring the problem behavior with the boys.

Basically,  it would go something like this.  When Emmett and Elliott were fighting or doing something else they should not be doing,  I would break out the spray bottle and squirt them.  They both hate getting wet so I think it would work.  The question is whether of not there is ethical issue with that 🙂

Of course,  I’m not actually going to do that but sometimes I wish I could.

When the boys start fighting, I could simply squirt,  squirt and they would stop. Then I could keep the squirt bottle on the mantel to serve as a reminder.

Like I said, sometimes I just want things to stop and employing methods like a squirt gun or spray bottle don’t always seem so wrong..

Anyone else ever feel this way?

**Thanks for reading**

       -Lost and Tired

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James Lamb

Wow. That was way too long. Sorry. 🙁

James Lamb

It's a harmless non-violent method of redirection and that's ultimately what you want – you want them to stop for a moment, long enough to assess their situation and maybe choose a different path. Keep a towel handy and aim for an outer extremity like an arm or a leg. (Heck, in most cases, you can probably aim poorly and miss entirely.) Never in the face.

Maybe a revised version of 1-2-3 magic – first daddy gets our the spray bottle "uh oh… Daddy's getting the spray bottle." second warning is "uh, oh – Daddy's filling the spray bottle" and third is "yikes… Daddy's shaking the spray bottle.". Then it's not done in anger or rashly, they've had several chances to try to get themselves out of the situation they're in.

Some would consider it cruel, but let's face it, children and pets defy logic and reasoning. In the end, a child needs to expect consistency from their parents, and at times when they're facing an emotion so intensely, they need help redirecting or something to distract them, they literally can't escape it on their own. So what you're describing literally is that splash of cold water (not too cold), that thing that helps, pull them back to reality.

Only you can decide what works for your children (we went through several different models based on courses from our church ranging from a highly legistic model that included spanking to a much more laid back method based on 1-2-3 Magic before realizing we needed professional help for ours) but I commend you on the "no spanking" policy. (My dad certainly didn't have a no spanking policy. That sucked.) We still sometimes have to employ a timeout chair or holding chair or room time, but most often we only get to a 1 or 2 count before she's able to course-correct on her own. He, on the other hand, has no concept of cause-and-effect or discipline so all we've got is a few claps of the hand or a sharp "no!" (usually enough to stop anything if it comes from me) to get his attention or a time-out in his tented-crib if he bites one of us, so it would be cruel and unusual to consider a squirt bottle with him. But her? If it was applied consistently (sparingly with a chance to course-correct), I don't think it would be cruel at all.

So I don't think you're wrong to ponder it. You're obviously a very devoted dad, so I doubt you're considering it in a cruel fashion.


Classical conditioning at its finest. It's how we train animals, and how we often teach kids to do things like potty training, etc. It's not a bad thing to consider when 'standard' methods don't work. Just like the parent I heard of who, when their child threw a tantrum, got down on the floor with them and imitated the tantrum to show them how silly they looked. Went from angry kids to laughter.

Keep thinking outside the box, it keeps you sane, makes you laugh, and you might find something that could work lol


Gee, I think that is thinking outside the box. I have never thought about that. I kinda like the idea. Having said I wonder even if they like to get wet it would be a diversion. You know change the atmosphere and make them laugh instead of fight.


I have thought about that exact thing! But for my kids, it really does not work to impose on them physically (which is what aversive stimuli like squirt guns are — and spanking, too, of course). Then they just learn that you can impose your will if you are bigger or have a squirt gun. So even though it requires an incredible amount of patience, if you can be the restrained one and use words, then they will understand how that works. I applaud your resolution. I work on this all the time.


there are worst things some people would do… sometimes thinking outside the box isn't such a bad thing… just saying!


thanks everyone 🙂

Lisa H

Every freakin' day, hon. And I only have one.

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