What Would You Do For A Bon Bon

Strawberry Bon Bons are certainly one of my favorite hard candies. In fact, if I had to choose between a Bon Bon and anything else in this moment, then bring me one of those 1lb bags from the dollar store. As a matter of fact, you can bring me the 5lb bag while you’re at it. While I’ve always know that my dad enjoys them; I recently learned that my son has a sweet spot for them as well.

For those of you who are in the dark and are wondering what strawberry Bon Bons are; they are Classic hard candies filled with sweet strawberry flavor. Each piece is individually wrapped in a unique strawberry wrapper. They have been around for years.

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The earliest bon bons were most likely created in the 17th century by the Parisian royal court, and the name originated as a child-like play on the French word bon or “good” in English (TheCandyWarehouse.com)

So anyway, the funniest thing just happened and while it had me dying laughing, I did have to stop for just a moment to address the innocence.

My son and I are home for the summer visiting my mom and dad; his nana and papa kenny. My dad, having passed down his sweet tooth to me, can also always be found in the kitchen on a late night looking for a snack or two. When in the middle of the night, is not the case; it can easily happen on any given afternoon, where he and I both rummage through the refrigerator, cookie jars and cake containers feigning to satisfy a late-night craving for sugar. It’ works best when we have what I call “Snacks on deck, snacks on hand, snacks on demand, insta snacks.”

Red and White Mouth Plastic Toy and Food Plastic Toys

That being said, my dad returned home one afternoon with a grocery bag full of candy. It was a variety consisting of bags of sweet-tarts, bags of bon bons, peppermints etc., oh yea and those orange, soft peanut-shaped candies that I didn’t think anyone ate.

He gave my son the pick of the litter. My son returns to the room with a bag of Sweet Tarts. I did not allow him to eat them all in one session, but I know he would have if I didn’t take them from him. Shortly after I’d taken the tarts from him, he returned with the plastic grocery bag of candy that my dad left sitting on the couch. I made him take the bag back, insisting that he only keep the tarts that my dad had given him.

Scoop of Candies

The next morning, I dropped my son off with his grandparents on his dad’s side of the family so that they could spend the weekend together. Later in the evening when I returned to my parents’ home, I noticed the grocery bag of candy sitting on the couch. This is when I first discovered that there ‘had been’ some bon bons in the bag. But dang… My dad had eaten most of them but there were a few hanging around at the bottom of the grocery bag.

I kept eyeing the bag all weekend, waiting to give dad first opt to eat the bon bon before selfishly taking the remaining few for myself. He never ate them, so by the time Sunday evening rolled around I figured it was safe to take the last 6 from the bag. I pocketed 4 because I wanted my son to have some upon his return and I ate the other 2.

…. Meanwhile, my dad returns to the scene with a whole new bag out of nowhere. So, I did not feel too bad about having swiped the last 6.

Monday, following the weekend my son had been away, I asked him to come into the room with me and told him that I had a surprise for him. I reached under the pillow where I had stashed the 4 Bon Bons, I did the whole ‘close your eyes…. SURPRISE!!’ thing… placed them in his hands and said, “I got these from Papa Kenny so that you could have some before he ate them all.”

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What happened next, I never saw coming. He happily took the Bon Bons of course. But then he said, “Mom, I got a surprise for you too.” What’s that? I asked. He reached under the bed and pulled out the entire bag of Bon Bons and said, “I got these from Papa Kenny too, so that you could have some.”

This child had already taken the bag of Bon Bons from the grocery bag before he went away for the weekend. He had hidden the whole bag under the bed but had the modest decency to leave 6 in the big bag for my dad, of what I later took, thinking I was putting them away for him. Lord help us.

In that moment, I knew I had not truly stolen anything- but since I presented it to him as if I went through an obstacle course to get them for him; what was I to say to him about how he went about getting them for me? Head in hand moment for me, it was. Next time, I know to say, “I asked Papa Kenny if we could have some of his candy and he said yes. So here, I saved these for you.” Hopefully, in that he will understand that there’s really no need to take them without Papa  Kenny knowing.

I guess the love for Strawberry Bon Bons don’t fall far from the vine.

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Don’t Sleep On Small Surprises

I have read many articles about how we are all trying to figure out this thing called parenting. And we can all agree that no one has it all figured out. That’s because each child is different, though they may share similar interest. I think we can all agree that at the end of the day, if we can hear our child say, “Mom, you’re the best” Then we are still winning. We are not trying to blur the lines between parenting and being our child’s homie…. And we want to make sure that there isn’t just a fine line in between either. We want there to be a noticeable difference so that we can establish boundaries and respect.

While parenting is not all about pleasing our children and catering to their want and needs like we are their servant, we still want to hear those words, Mom, you are the best, thank you mom, I appreciate you mom, I love you….To hear those words are encouraging to parents. They are inspiring. They are just what you need to hear on some days when you are pressing on to be the best parent you can be. The simple things in life… in exchange for something so empowering.

It is true that we doubt ourselves at times, even when we know that we are doing the absolute best that we can. We do this because we are constantly trying to make sure that our children have all the essential things they need to excel. So, when they even so much as remotely show signs of unhappiness, we are back at the drawing board trying to figure things out. If you are a parent, just remember not to beat yourself up.

My son reminded me that I was the best and for the remainder of the day, I felt as though I was wearing a crown.

It was last week, leading into Independence Day, when I was online searching for some fun in the city. Something local and affordable, where he would be able to watch a fire-works show among other things to maximize our time together. I found out that there would be all-day activities for kids; including an inflatable waterslide, discounted prices for Museum Entrance, face painting, bean bag toss contest, food, drinks and more along the waterfront at one of the local attractions. I began to plan for the event that would also end with a fire works show over the water.

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Upon our arrival to the park, the first thing that my son noticed was the inflatable water slide. His eyes widened, as I kept watch on his reaction. As we got closer and he was able to get a better look at it and saw the other children playing, he said ooh, mom! …then he said never mind. I asked, “What?” all the while knowing what he’d seen and what was going through his mind. He responded again, “Never mind… I would have to have swim clothes so it’s ok.” Just before we got to the water slide, I asked him to step into the bathroom. Once in there, I reached into my bag and pulled out his swim trunks and a tank. His face lit up! It was the highlight of my day. He said, “You the best mom!!!” These moments are what I live for. To surprise him with something so little and he be so grateful.

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Spending time with my child this summer has been most rewarding, even when out of spite one day he told me that my dress made me look fat. LOL. It was a funny story and I wish I could remember what exactly it was that he wasn’t getting his way with that day, which made him say it. But it reminded me of that sour patch kids commercial… (First, they are sour then they are sweet) Whatever it was, he had me standing in the mirror second guessing what I was wearing to church that day. I took it with a grain of salt and laughed because he wasn’t totally lying. However, he did take full advantage of the moment to make his opinion known.

https://www.facebook.com/NDKENNY/videos/10215987556579714/?t=1

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But anyway… We have a few weeks left in the summer. Here’s a few things you may want to keep in mind as you continue to make it the best one yet; while in the process, pull off a surprise of your own.

Always being prepared: Use your trunk for things like a cooler, an umbrella, one to two lawn chairs, a picnic blanket, a thermos for coffee or beverage of your choice and a cup for the kiddo. Take snacks with you to save on spending at fast food restaurants along the way or on expensive food trucks and food stands that are often set up at the park or venue and attraction.

Leaving ahead of time to give yourself ample time to arrive, park, make provisions for traffic and accidents which may have caused a delay on the highway.

Search for all the free or low cost local attractions and attend those rather than spending the bank on traveling away. Take advantage of what’s in the city.

Save on parking: If off street parking is cheaper than parking in a garage attached to an attraction, explore that as an option and use the time walking, to sightsee

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Checking ahead of time: This one depends on the attraction. I only thought about it because you have places like Urban Air and other trampoline parks where there are a lot of parties being planned on the weekend. If you have time during the week or earlier in the day to visit these establishments it may be worth it rather than going while they are jam-packed or when a party is going on where they will have certain areas blocked off for a party, limiting your child’s activities while being there during this time.

Taking one for the team: Being outside in that heat, turning three shades darker, sweating and sitting… consider this: Take an enjoyable book or earphones to listen to music. Talk to people around you who may be able to swap ideas on what to do.

Covering the basics here, is what sets the stage for you to pull off a great surprise!

Here’s What You Need To Know If You Are Headed to The Beach or Pool This Summer

It’s that time of the year again where children are excited about getting out of school, taking a family vacation and just being away from the classroom for a while. For the adults, summer trips are being planned to the beach, water parks and community pools to escape the heat. This means neighborhood and community pools and parks are gearing up to host hundreds of children throughout these hot, summer months to aid in the cool down. There’s something you need to think about as you head off to these bodies of water: Water Safety!

This includes learning how to swim. Ladies, while I understand the work and cost that goes into keeping our hair up, getting our hair wet is not a good enough reason to not learn how to swim if we are going to be headed to pools and beaches this summer. This topic only came to mind after so many years of swimming myself and learning that a lot of women have not taken advantage of swim lessons. Their main reason was due to their getting their wet, messing up perms, damaging their hair from the harsh chemicals that are in pools.

It’s a sensitive topic, I know. Because usually when you make mention of someone’s hair as it relates to water and the hairdo- someone is bound to talk about how much it cost to get their hair done and how they do not want to waste “all that money” at the beauty shop, just for their child or themselves to jump into the water and mess it up. I get it. I wouldn’t want to either. However, if I am going to make the choice to go to the beach or pool, where I know that I am going to get into water, there’s a chance that my hair will get wet. Knowing how to swim is important to me. It is also important to me that my child knows, since he loves the water as much as I do. Even when you go and wear a cap or have your hair up with no intention on submerging your head, there’s always the possibility of going under, so you still want to be able to swim your way out.

On a trip to LEGOLAND last year, I learned with my own child that you cannot always rely on a lifeguard. Neither should you. It was my own vigilance at the pool and my ability to swim, which rescued him, as the Life-guards stood by watching and others were pre-occupied with talking to each other, distracted by their cell phones and never knew anything happened.

I don’t want to run drowning statistics on you, neither do I want to create a fear that we are never to go into the water again. But I would like to convey that it is a serious matter. While there are several people who drowned who were able to swim, it was under harsh and extreme circumstance. Most drownings were due to an inability to swim.

For the most part, children love water: They love to play in it, jump in it and often underestimate the dangers that surround water. When they see water, the first thing that want to do is run and jump in it.

The first lesson of swimming is that you are going to get your face wet. So, in getting them used to it, we would start with water splashing.  Remove those small fears and it creates an avenue for the beginner lessons to begin, such as putting your face in the water, holding your breath underwater, being comfortable with being submerged in the water…. etc.

Getting back to the hair: In a related article I offered suggestions about a great conditioner for the hair. This was an item that I personally use, but not on a selling trip… merely making the point that a good conditioner may tackle the issues of hair and pool/beach. Invest in a good coverage swim cap. Condition your hair daily, so that the parts that do get wet are safe. Sign up for a beginner’s swim class. Learn to swim.

Additionally, there are hair products such as Aqua Guard pre-swim, which act as a protect layer that you can use on the hair prior to getting into the water. There’s also a product called Ion Swimmers leave in and Surf Cream Rinse Conditioner. These products are designed for protecting the hair against the chemicals in the water. Too much hair for a swim cap? That’s cool…. Leave the cap off and explore those conditioner and pre-pool conditioner options. You can always explore the idea of braids for your child while they are learning to swim or for when your beginner swimmer heads into the water. This will help tremendously with the tangles. Tie the hair up in a tight ball while braided to decrease the number of loose hairs that would get tangled.

The Wrap Up: If we know that even the strongest swimmer can drown, we know that the possibility of drowning increases as we put non-swimmers in beaches and pools without proper training and techniques or even the basics of breathing and staying afloat.

We can tackle these numbers this year by making sure that all children take basic water safety and beginners swim class. Adults can also join in on the fun! You can still get your Friday night hairdo and skip the water for the duration of the time that your style will last but take time in those weeks where you are waiting for an appointment, to make sure that you learn to swim if the pool and beach is on your radar for summer fun.

Suggestions for Swim Class: American Red Cross, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of America, Private Lessons int eh community and neighborhood, Community Colleges and Summer Programs. There is a plethora of options.

Nana and The Prince

Nana pat @fadedrose56 #Priceless time with the little Prince Cornelius during Christmas in Columbia, South Carolina. #Onesies and #Family a little fun on the trampoline is all he needs….Reminiscing…

Dear Honey Bunches of Oats

…….. The following was written in October of 2013. It was a pretty trying time for me. It was an open letter to my son pinned on my blog at the time and shared on Shutterfly. As I found it today and reflected upon the words that were written, I could not help but to think about what is unfolding in his life today. It makes me happy that I jotted it down at that time way back in 2013 when it was fresh and sincere. Resonates so much today, seeing how he is going through some of the things he is going through. I pasted it below without edits because it was written exactly how I would want it read to this day.

…..Is something so massive you can’t get it out of your head, though you bury it or make repeat efforts; by which only cause you to suffer in silence if suppressed. I choose mental health instead, and wish so many others would. Truth is the only anecdote. The truth for me was giving birth to you- a beautiful gift from GOD and beauty for ashes! The only way I can be here for you, is to be here for me. I have to be well in order for you to be well. I know that hiding the truth will not keep you protected- it would only materialize later in forms of confusion and conflict. I would never be the conductor of that train wreck! This is why I fight for you!

The truth is what you can’t get over, under or around. It’s what GOD is and since you were made in his image and likeness – you are the truth. You are what cannot not be hidden. You represent facts that are not acknowledged, often ignored and for some… Who want to pretend your existence is based on anything else, you are still here.

Let’s start with your name. Deon ‘ Cornelius’ Kenny. It was the name given to you at birth, and is on your original birth certificate. Your first name is my middle name, but spelled more masculine. Mine is Dionne. Your middle name came from a man. That man is your grandfather. It is his middle name as well. It is the bridge between your mother and her father by which your existence of a real man came through to sustain your last name, as Kenny. He was the ONLY male figure you knew about while I was carrying you. He is my dad and your grandfather. When you were born, he held you as you were his because you are his blood line. He stepped in to make sure you had a positive role male model, and an example of a man and a father as well as to nurture you as a boy.

You were born into a fight and unfortunately you have been used as collateral by a court empowered by your biological father. The things he told me during the time of your conception were quite different from what he was telling everyone around him, leaving them all surprised when I announced I was pregnant. As a result, lies compounded into a volcano. That volcano is erupting and evil is the lava. I refuse to allow you to be burned! I will extinguish it through prayer and the truth.

Your conception was not by two unwilling parties who knew nothing about what was going on. Instead, it was two very well, highly educated, adults and professionals who equally played a part in your conception. Your father, being in healthcare knows how babies are made. There were no secrets nor hidden agendas nor force that brought you here by me. Your father and I knew the possibility of you coming to exist when we took part in our estranged encounter. He was very aware and informed of the consequence that may prevail.

While this is truth, he expected me to terminate the pregnancy as if an abortion was birth control. With his trail if deception creeping upon his life that would expose truth, he panicked. His mother, your grandmother later asked why is it that I decided to have you. The insinuation that I had any other choice after you were already a fetus, uttered evil. Those words still sting. They linger like untreated cancer. They could have been fatal. However, because I was strong and supported by my mom, dad and sisters as well as close friends; you never had to feel that sting. I have protected you from day one and always will. However, I will not hide the truth from you.

Many things have taken place since your birth that would kill the average person. However, I’m not average and so I still exist. I exist to continue to give you the best of me and praise GOD for your existence. God sees, hears and knows all even that which is not said. Even with the possibility of two potentially different perceptions or perspectives, the truth is what it is and two people for certain know exactly what that is! Something about the truth is, people like to bury it. But you can’t when it’s alive. You can’t act like it didn’t happen, by covering it up with deceptive lies about how it happened. All I hope to instill upon you, son, is the truth about why things are happening the way they are.

If you do not see me, it is not because I don’t want to see you. When you can’t wake up to my kisses, read a book with me, watch your favorite program, eat rice, play in the park and ride your blue bike; it’s not because I don’t want you to. When I can’t tuck you in and sing “Yes, Jesus loves you”, or teach you how to write your name and count to one hundred, it’s not because I don’t want to. When I can’t bathe you, dress you, comb your hair, and love on you like I always have, it is not because I don’t want to. If I can’t take you to the Circus, Lego festival, kids museum, children’s expo, or play in the water, go swimming and to the library, and expose your senses to all the fun and educational thing life has to offer; it’s not because I wanted to stop. Don’t let anyone tell you that ever AGAIN. If I can’t teach you where all the continents are on your favorite globe, take you to the wonders of the world and play Elmo hands, or sing the wheels on the bus, and read to you your children’s bible, It’s certainly not because I requested not to. If I can’t play your favorite DVD while riding in the car, dance with you to your favorite tune with the Disney car boom box, or play the guitar and keyboard, or show you the functions of your leap frog and other V-Tech stations; I did not ask to stop. If we can’t sit at your table in your room and have circle time learning colors, shapes and sounds like we’ve always done, know that I miss it too. If we can’t play hiding seek, peek- a-boo, Simon says and abracadabra; I am imaging the times that we did. If you cannot ride your fleet of cars down the street while laughing at me chase you to turn the wheel, walk to the mailbox, prank call nana and papa Kenny, and wear your rain boots while the sun is shining; I won’t do it without you. While we can’t sit in the closet and practice tornado drills and watch the homedics machine project images of fish creatures in the dark, or jump upstairs while you are on my back; we will soon!

If I can’t continue to provide you with the stable, loving and nurturing environment, that I always have while you have been sick or well—know that I had NO part in that change. Your home will always be right here on Story Book Trail. The rest, I know you will figure out. You were conceived on March 17th 2010 and I haven’t forgotten one detail since then. Should you ever have questions, I will only give you the truth.

Teaser from the Book “Order in the Courtroom” pt. 2

I’m going to tell you the story about a girl who was arrested May of 2013 by the Fort Bend County, Sheriff Department.

During her normal routine of meeting the father of her child at a Valero gas station located at the entrance of Sienna Plantation, a sub division in Missouri City, Texas, in which she lived; the peaceful drop was interrupted.

Allow me to pause and rewind: they were meeting at the gas station, at the court ordered request of the girl, who had been harassed many times and assaulted by her child’s father. She requested a mutual and public meeting place due to the previous harassment being done in private. She thought that meeting in a public place would work as a deterrent against the constant harassment. She thought that the public meeting place would make it harder for her child’s father to carry out any threats on her life he’d made. She was happy that he was finally ordered to meet her in a public place, even though it pissed him off more that he had to do so. She was happy that she finally got the order to meet in a public place, after she requested it for 2 years. 2 years that she was denied the motion, in addition to not only being denied that request before, she was ordered to give him her address to her safe haven for pick ups. Until one day……. (Pause: Will be right back)

Back to the day at the gas station: she hugged and kissed her son as usual, before walking him to his father. Once her, then 2.5 year old son, whom had been in her care and custody since birth, was in his fathers arms, she was approached by 2 police officers, as she got back in her car. One on each side of her vehicle. One stood at the front passenger side, demanding that she roll her window down. The other stood at the driver side window, demanding the same. She rolled her windows down and was asked her name. The same officer demanded to produce her identification. After she questioned the officers about why they were asking for her information, and more importantly, why they seemed so aggressive, she looked in her rear view mirror and noticed the father of her child in the car, along with her child. The child’s father was laughing/smiling. She then knew, he had something to do with it. She flashed backed to the email she had just received from him, inciting an encrypted message about something that was “about to happen” it was a joke to him and a warning at the same time. It was a reflection of his ways, in that he’s always had a trick up his sleeve and he’s too narcissistic to let you go without letting someone know that he was the mastermind.

Right about that time, she was demanded to get out of the car and was given no reason why. The police reached inside the car and unlocked the door and began to pull her out. After she tried to make several calls from her cell phone, before being pulled from the vehicle, the police opened her door and began to pull her out.

She told the police that she’d like to call her attorney. The police told her no. One officer, demanded that she hand her cell phone over and that he would call her attorney. She said, “No, there’s a lock on my phone as well as personal information that you do not need to see or have access to.” The police told her that if she does not give him her password, he will not allow her to call anyone. Under duress, she surrendered…

You won’t believe what happened next! Stay tuned for my next teaser.

https://www.amazon.com/Niedria-Kenny/e/B00JION5EC

That Moment My Son Caught Me Off Guard And I Totally Wasn’t Ready

Have you ever found yourself betwixt the intense snares of a worthy competitor during a game of I Declare War, Who Sank My Battle Ship or Connect Four, who’s challenging your every move with statements that will make you second guess how good you really may be at playing the game? Their competitive nature gets the best of them as they begin making statements such as: I am the best, you can’t beat me, I won, I win, you lose! Which with time, turn into empty threats such as, I am going to beat you so bad that you won’t be able to tell your head from your foot.

If you are the proud parent to a First-Grader, you may understand the limit in examples I have given for lack of adult activities I get to partake in as well as understand that when a First-Grader calls you big head, they mean business and it’s a pretty harsh statement that may be the adult equivalent to something I can not get away with saying on a G-rated blog post. But hey, it’s not a curse word, right?

You’re laughing and having an enjoyable time as you let the little tyke win in some cases, and in other cases you go ahead and put the brakes on them so that they will know who’s the boss. My son and I love to play I declare War and it’s a terrific way to pass the time. In fact, it worked for me as I was teaching him that 9 was greater than 5 and that 6 was less than 7 and so on… He never knew that he was learning how to quickly identify the Highest Number/ Lowest Number, by becoming familiar with the numbers through doing something fun. At any rate, he became very good at the game, picking up his cards when he had the higher card and he’d boast when it appeared that he was driving down the cards that I had, on his way to a sweet victory.

So, here’s the scenario: My mother courageously accepted the I Declare War challenge with my little prince. Never did she know that she was stepping into the Lion’s Den. Brave Woman! He was up, then he was down. Then they were even. But if you know anything about I Declare War, you know that the game can switch up easy with a War card. You can be down to your last 4 cards and win another 6, in addition to keeping your four if your war card beats your opponent. And then from there, you could have collected all high cards which will change the direction of the game. Well, my son was up… He was feeling confident. He was on the edge of the sofa, as I sat nearby watching TV. I could hear him going on and on about how he was about to win this game against my mother.

Then out of nowhere, he says to my mom, “Yea! I am bout to whoop your ass!” Totally alarmed me. I looked at him and hit him with the parenting 101 question that you ask any kid when you know they will not be brave enough to say it again… “BINO! WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?” To which he nonchalantly replied, “I said I’m gonna whoop yo ass.” Loooong Pause. I did not know where to go from there because when I was a child, it stopped at the question of “What did you say” being asked. And there was no more commentary.  From there it was the parenting stare that spoke volumes about what would happen if you dare to say it again. You know the stare I am talking about… because we all have it. It’s the one that says, I didn’t think so! Or That’s what I thought!… Behind their silence from your intimidating glare. Suddenly I was left with …ok, just making sure that’s what you said… carry on. I am Joking…. But seriously, he wasn’t supposed to respond much less repeat exactly what he said.

Have you ever been in the ocean swimming away from the shore and you came upon the place where the ocean stopped? Of course not. And so, respectfully you don’t know what it looks like, as you have never been there and for the greater part of your life you have accepted that it doesn’t stop and if and wherever it does, you’d probably never see it. I was at a loss for words.

I looked to my mother and said, “do something!” I was not ready for this moment and nothing came to my mind under the natural realm of things to do, because this never happened before. I had never seen this occur in life.

I don’t want to laugh at the fact that he cursed, and I did not take it lightly at the time. The truth is, I was rather appalled and wondered where/who he picked this up from. It was an example of how we may come to face things in life where our children are concerned which may be unexpected, in which we are not prepared for. We will have to address it when and if it happens. If you are extremely lucky, you will get through this parenting thing without any fails with your perfect child.

Here’s the thing… You may have a monitoring tool on all the TV’s in the home, a security key on electronics limiting them to the G-Rated material they can access and you just might refrain from using said language while in the presence of your child. However, if you’re a single parent, you have no control over what your child may be exposed to when he’s not in your presence and you also have to consider that your child attends school with hundreds of other children that they interact with daily. You have no idea the upbringing or the language that those children are exposed to and so there is no way for you to monitor what your child may subsequently become exposed to while he/she is away from you at school, day camp, day care, etc. As you send your children back to school in the new Year, here’s what you can do. Continue to reinforce the rules and stand your ground. Hope for the best but be prepared for the worse. Be a constant reminder to them in making it very clear about what is acceptable and what is not. Don’t just draw the switch/belt and punishment until you have talked to them about their behavior and have let them know of the consequences. Their first offense may just be their last.