Most parents struggle with finding the balance between being the parent that they want to be and the disciplinarian that they have to be to their children. I know I do.
I want to raise my girls with respect for authority and teach them how to behave in the world like young ladies who follow the law. I want them to know the difference between right and wrong, and I want them to be safe and kind to their fellow man. So I have to be the disciplinarian now so that they will learn these lessons while they are small.
In all honesty, I hate disciplining my children. I want nothing more than to love on them and enjoy all of our moments together, but instead I have to be the adult and teach them that there are consequences for their bad behavior.
Sometimes it would just be so much easier to let the bad behavior slide because itâ€™s not really that bad. How many times have we told ourselves this? Letâ€™s face it; we want to be the fun parent. Who wants to be the mean parent who has to put their foot down and teach little ones about consequences? Who wants to make their child sad or cry? Not me.
I prefer giggles and running hugs that let me know that Iâ€™m the best thing since Gummi bears over sad children crying, â€œYouâ€™re the worst Mommy ever!â€ But how do I split the difference?
In a perfect world, my children would be perfect and never misbehave but unfortunately, we live in the real world and not a perfect one. Iâ€™d even be satisfied with children who accepted their discipline without rebuff, negotiation or argument, but thatâ€™s not what usually happens either.
Normally, my discipline is met with staunch disagreement, uneager ears, unwilling hearts and occasionally full-on body tantrums. So, here are a few ways to discipline your children without all of the headstrong opposition.
Choose your battles. Sometimes you just need to let things slide. Is spilling milk really a reason for world war 3? Probably not. Instead of getting upset and punishing your child for what was probably an accident, ask them to clean up the mess.
This will teach them responsibility for their mistakes and show them understanding for mistakes, rather than teaching intolerance for imperfection. It will also be one less time that you have to be the bad guy.
The freedom of choice. My 5-year-old loves to argue and negotiate what she will wear to school. It is exhausting to me, frustrating to her and usually ends in both of us being utterly spent and unsatisfied.
Of course, I could just pull out an outfit and say â€œWear this!â€ but then she feels small and like she is being bossed around. So, since the girls were small, I have always offered two choices, and this way they feel like they have choices and are not being bossed around.
Everybody wants to feel like they have some control. By allowing them two choices of my choosing, everyone is happy and appropriate. One day of the weekend, I allow them to choose whatever they want to wear, no matter how outlandish it might be.
The bait and switch. When my girls were small they liked to fixate on toys, ideas and plans. You could not promise a picnic and change your mind. I donâ€™t care if there was a thunderstorm or tornado.
Little kids just donâ€™t adjust that quickly, so try a little distraction. Get them busy doing something else just as fun. This works if you have kids who are fighting over a toy. I have been known to break into spontaneous dance party to distract from a fight over a particular baby doll.
5-minute warnings. Always give your kids a 5-minute warning before changing activities or leaving a play date to avoid the time to go melt down.
Role reversal. With my 7-year-old, I like to ask her what she would do if she were the mommy. Surprisingly, she normally sides with my decision to discipline. Then we discuss feelings, how would she feel if she were the mommy and her child did this behavior. She usually walks away genuinely remorseful for her behavior.
10-second-rule. If you feel completely overwhelmed, stop. Walk away. Count ten. If you donâ€™t behave like the adult and remove yourself from the situation there is a potential for you both to overreact and someone to lose their cool. You are bigger than they are, so you are elected to be the responsible one.
What do you do to make disciplining more effective and less destructive to your parent-child relationship?
Photo Source: MDanys