For the past couple of nights, my almost 4 year-old C has been calling out in his sleep, “Mommy, mommy” in such a sad, almost pathetic, tone. It’s heart-breaking, at least for this mommy, and the reason is that I fear that I’ve been a bit too harsh with him over the past couple of days. I’m usually a fairly calm, upbeat person, but over the past couple of days I have been “laying down the law” and in the process, I fear that I have been traumatizing C. This is not to say that I’m not firm in general when it comes to our family rules, but the past couple of days have been different because I’ve been doing a lot of the disciplining right before bedtime. I find discipline in general to be the most difficult in the evening hours, because it is hard to come up with and enforce consequences around bedtime, and also because my patience is sometimes running lowest this time of day. We work on the understanding that if Christopher wants certain privileges (stories before bed, dessert, a video during the day, etc.), he needs to fulfill certain responsibilities (taking care of himself by getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating good meals, etc.; taking care of others by being kind, helpful, etc.). If he doesn’t fulfill his responsibilities, there is a consequence. Around bedtime, the only immediate privilege that can be taken away is bedtime stories – all of the other consequences must wait until the next day. Maybe some of you have other ideas for consequences in the evening??