Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Laying the Smack Down

Here is part II to Annette's question from Live, Learn, Love. "How do I handle discipline?"

You would think with five children I would be a pro of sorts about discipline, but the fact of the matter is, I'm not. I hate discipline, whether it be in my own life or in the lives of my children, but unfortunately it is unavoidable. It's one of those things that God directs us to step out of our comfort zone to do. I would say it is one of my biggest struggles as a mom, followed by what to fix for lunch. It's one of those areas where I clearly see my faults and I wish I were better with follow-through and that I didn't yell all the stinkin' time.

Like everything else with motherhood, it seems like the disagreeable behavior seems to be cyclic. Right now I'm dealing with Keely not listening the first time around, the same problem I had with Ryleigh a year ago. Brynna is having the issue of trying to be the mama and constantly correcting and discipline the little ones, something I had to have a heart-to-heart with Jace about 6 months ago. And just like every other stage in dealing with children, when you are in the throes of it, it seems endless and overwhelming.

The one think I think I do well regarding discipline, is back Brian up when he corrects the children. Even when I don't agree with him or his method, my poker face is on and I stand behind his decision. This is not to say that we don't have discussions later about it, or that I don't do "eye messages" when the kids backs are turned, but I believe in providing a united front. Brian and my other strong suit is that we choose our battles. We try not to get hung up on little things. We try to focus on the core values of our family. Do they obey us? Are they being respectful of others? Are their words and actions loving? I love how the Duggars use the acronym of JOY (Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself third), when I remember to use it, I do.

Punishment for the above mentioned infractions result in a time-out, a paddle (depending on severity and times of repeating myself) or loss of something important, privileges for the older kids and treats for the younger ones. These consequences are normally prefaced by a warning , "Don't do _______", followed by a, "I'm going to beat the living tar out of you if you don't listen", a "I'm going to paddle you into next week, now stop it," or "Do I need to lay the smack down?" (Annette, these are the empty threats I was telling you about.) After I blow off steam along with my self-confessed horrible sayings, I finish up with the correct punishment.

As for tantrums, I've never (knock on wood) had a child have a major meltdown in public, at least not one that I can remember (you'll see why below). We do have them at home on occasion. I tell them to stop or they can go in their room. If they continue I ignore them, if it still continues I pick them up and put them in either their crib (Vance) or in their bedroom (Keely) until they stop it with the crying, flailing, and all-around-fit-throwing. With Keely I actually have to stand outside her bedroom door holding the door shut until she gives up with her escape plan. It's awful, but after she cries it out and calms down we can talk and I can get an apology. Normally when we are at this point, it's because she is too dang tired to reason.

Speaking of tired, I try not to overload my kids. Major grocery shopping is done by myself on nights or weekends. If I have errands to run, I limit how many I can do at one outing and plan to do the most boring and difficult one first so that there is something to look forward to. This might make me run into town more than once a week but doing two days of three or four errands is far less stressful for everyone and is well worth the gas and anxiety I feel as I break out into a sweaty mess when my kids begin to run a muck.


Halfmoon Girl said...

I thought I would be a pro at discipline by now, but every child has a different temperment- it is still a challenge. I totally agree with not overstressing the kids or putting them in situations where they get overwhelmed and then getting mad at them for it. I really dislike seeing parents tug their tired kids around by their arms while shopping in a mall or something. I want to ask them how they would like someone twice their height to drag them around for a couple of hours with by holding their arm up above their head!

Karin @ 6ByHisDesign said...

hmmm...much to think about. and laugh at (cuz commisery loves company??). i tell 'em i'll spank them to the moon...or when i'm reeeeally flustered something to the effect of to the moon and back and they'll WISH they lived on the moon...but whatever. it's sooooooo effective, i do it at lease twice a day.

and dryer sheets - wet. i used two new ones to clean off all the years of gook. it's the detergent stuff in 'em that cleans, but wouldn't it be very green if we tried the used ones? i'll have to do that! (i have piles of those things floating around here. the dogs like to eat them...)

Annette said...

Boy, it's been a while since you posted, but we've been SOOO busy! Thank you for your honesty. I think Meghan is a real spit-fire...tantrums in the car, public, home...all around. She is really bad with transitions (especially leaving a friend's house.) I agree with the not shopping when they're tired. Living more than 30 minutes away from most places we shop doesn't help since she starts getting tired before noon!

Thank you! Maybe some other topics could be back to school shopping and birthday parties. :)

countryfriedmama said...

The most frustrating thing is repeating a stage you've already survived with one kid. It must feel like deja vu to you. It must feel like deja vu to you. It must feel like...

Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday. I hope you'll come back and visit again!

Anonymous said...

I had 2 favorite sayings for Greg once he got about Jace's age. "Under penalty of death" meant don't you dare misbehave for this occasion. "This is not up for debate" meant don't argue with me or things will get even worse. I didn't use them often but Greg knew I meant business when I did. He seems to have turned out okay. Aunt Linda