A couple Sundays ago, I had to give two of my daughters some pretty harsh punishment. They had a bad attitude that morning. As part of my job, I was facilitating Worship Enrichment, a time during the regular church worship service when young children go to a separate room for a child friendly bible story. My girls wanted to come "help," but their fighting and arguing ended up being more of a problem than anything else. So, at one point, I told them they had lost their pool privileges for that afternoon. I knew that we had family coming over that day and that watching their uncles, baby cousin, and little sister splashing the pool would be tough.
Sure, enough, while everyone had fun in the pool, the oldest sat on the sidelines watching grumpily and the middle one wouldn't even come outside.
I didn't like being the "bad guy" and I felt almost mean for the calculated punishment I had levied. However, I also realize that allowing children to misbehave and not correcting them in is really even worse. My girls needed to learn a lesson and it was my job to teach them.
Discipline is one of my least favorite things about being a parent. I know I am too soft and too tolerant sometimes. I also, know, however, that discipline is necessary in order to raise children who know right from wrong. So, I will keep it up and do the best I can.
On that Sunday, I remembered this post I wrote in May of 2012. Today, I am continuing my Throwback Thursday Blog Reruns for July.
**********************This no surprise to you if you are a parent. Discipline is constant - from the big things (like lying and beating up siblings) to the little things (like remembering to pick up your dirty socks and not talking with your mouth full) and everything in between. It is never fun for anyone involved, either. Because of it's continual nature and it's lack of fun factor, discipline can actually be quite exhausting.
In fact, I have noticed lately that my discipline "techniques" have become rather lazy. I have put up with too much whining. I have "given in" a few too many times. I have used the "ignore strategy" a little too freely. Why? Because I'm tired of disciplining my kids. It takes a lot of energy and it is just easier to let things slide. However, instituting poor discipline is doing a disservice to my kids and to society (and to me!). So, having realized my shortcoming, I am trying really hard to do better.
And, I repeat, discipline is hard.
Just the other night, we sent our 7 year old to bed fifteen minutes earlier than the usual bedtime because of a sassy mouth that had to be punished. She cried and cried which is never easy for a mom to hear. It would have been much more fun for both of us to cuddle up in bed and read a book together, but that would not have addressed the problem and she would most certainly have repeated the behavior.
It is also important for parents to find a balance with their discipline. I tend to be a little lazy and my hubby tends to be a little harsh (in my opinion). We have discussed it many times and we try hard to find a middle ground. For example, the sending to bed early - he didn't yell and I didn't just ignore it.
The fact is, there is no parenting manual that tells us "For this offense, you should give this punishment and for that offense you should give that punishment." We are all just figuring it out as we go along and trying to do the best we can. It is exhausting and overwhelming. Occasionally, we have to take a step back and re-evaluate our strategies. We aren't always going to get it right, but, hopefully, the overall effect will be positive in the end!