Discipline is something we really struggle with in our home. I guess you can’t say we are new to the parenting game since Elijah is nearly 5, but we are new to having to discipline someone! It can be so frustrating. I don’t like the idea of giving hidings. I don’t like for my child to be fearful of us. Time out and naughty corner have also never worked. Taking away privileges doesn’t seem to work either, which doesn’t really leave us with too many options.
I have noticed sometimes when I speak reasonably with my almost 5 year old son, he seems to get it. He also seems to go away and think about what we discussed as he sometimes comes back later out of his own and apologizes, but is that enough? We should be teaching him action = consequence, cause and effect, right? I suppose as a family you have to work out what works for you, but up to now we haven’t figured it out yet.
I am really worried that we’ll end up raising irresponsible and nasty children if we don’t get a handle on the discipline and I feel like time is running out for us to find a reliable way of enforcing rules. I try to discuss these things with Rudi, but he struggles as well. For example, if he is angry and wants to resort to a hiding, I usually intervene and get him to calm down to diffuse the situation. He is still cross though and then dishes out a punishment that he intends to follow through on, but often it doesn’t happen. He might say no sweets/treats/luxuries for the rest of the week (on a Monday!), but by Wednesday it is forgotten and a request for a cookie is not turned down. Or he’ll tell Elijah he won’t sleep with him for the rest of the week and when this results in a melt down, eventually cave. I know that the most important thing when it comes to discipline it following through on what you’ve said and if you don’t you teach the child that they will probably only bear the consequences for a short while if at all. That’s not so bad, is it? *sigh* I’ve tried time and time again to stress the importance of this to Rudi, but we keep slipping up. I resort to shouting, because ears are made of clay, but that doesn’t get results either.
While Elijah can be extremely cheeky, defiant and disrespectful (to us), he is actually a sweet child with a good heart. He is amazing with his sister (for now) and can be so cute. Yesterday he had 3 blocks of chocolate. His father told him to give his sister who was sitting with me in another room a block and he came to do so. He showed me his remaining two blocks. I asked him if one of them was for me and he snapped them in half and gave me his last block. I didn’t take it, but the fact that he offered it to me was so sweet. I made sure to tell him that and relay it to his dad in his presence. He beamed.
If we could just figure out how to discipline him while nurturing that sweet child within, I would feel much better.
I would love to hear from you what works for your family and if it was trial and error before you figured it out or how you figured it out at all.