a post about discipline

A note before I begin: I am talking about MY son and MY family here. Your child and your family may be different, in fact, they most likely are. Nothing frusterates me more then when I write something about how I raise Zeke and then someone reads it and gets all insulted because that's not the way they raise their child. We all raise our kids differently! As well we should because all of our kids are different! Not to mention all of our beliefs, personalities, family situations, ect. Go ahead and take what resonates with you, if you find something that does. If not, then just ignore it and go on as you were.

I very very very rarely discipline Ezekiel. Partly because I just dont know how. Time-outs, my favorite option, are far too tramatizing for him. There is just a point with small children where the punishment is so emotional that it overrides any actual lesson. All they can remember is the punishment, and not what they did to recieve it. Time-outs are like that with Zeke. Physical seperation from me is so overwhelming for him that he panics and it can take hours to calm him down.

There is also the "go in the corner" type time out, where they are in the same room as you, I suppose. But I've actually never understood how you get this to work without either punishing them for not doing their punishment correctly (what a rabbit hole) or physically restraining them, which just seems like a wrestling match when you consider my kid is well over 30 pounds now. I've seen the super nanny, back in my TV days, place a child in a chair over and over and over again while he screams bloody murder but 1. I have two children and no time for this and 2. I'm afraid it becomes more a battle of wills then a lesson. Useful with those super nanny kids, perhaps, for whom the lesson IS a battle of wills or for kids that will do it for some magical reason.

And while I believe in spanking, and do spank on occasion, I only reserve it for the very worst offences. Dangerous things, like running away from me in a parking lot. Or after I've tried everything else possible and he is still outright disobeying. Not day to day teaching, Zeke probably only gets spanked once every few months.

And I will stop here to note that there is a BIG difference between hitting and spanking. Dont tell me there isnt. I am in no way supporting hitting. Spanking is controlled, it's forwarned. There is always a level of "You cant do this because such and such, if you do it again you are going to be spanked" and then 2 seconds later (not days later or even hours later, children have no long term memory) "And now you are going to be spanked because so and so." I would never, say, catch up to Zeke in a parking lot and then bend over and whack him one. I get so irritated with people that do that and call it spanking, it makes the rest of us look bad. If you are angry, if you are out of control, then you need to take a moment and parent yourself a bit before you move onto your child.

And since I'm already on my soapbox I'll also mention that I'm also not fond of the whole "do it back" method. Biting a child that bit you, or pulling his hair because he pulled yours, breaking his toy because he broke your vase. I just kind of feel like someone has to be the adult.

So, as you can see, I'm a little light on punishment options.

Fortunately I also don't discipline Zeke much because I just dont find I have to. I would even go so far as to say that when I DO discipline Zeke I see it as a failing in myself. Because I know it could have been avoided had I set him up to suceed. In almost every situation where I punish Zeke I can pinpoint something I could have done instead. Which is unfortunately going to have to be the point of a post I'm going to write later, since I see that my kids need me right now. :)

Relatedly, Ezekiel has finally stopped throwing up. Or at least its been a bit over 12 hours now and he's switched from pathetic to demanding. When I stop feeling bad for him, I usually take it as a good sign.


Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

You are absolutely right that all children are different and so what works for one doesn't work for all. It sounds like you have a good grasp on things and I would just add that it's important--in fact, critical to balance love and discipline. Discipline isn't always punishment, it's actually teaching. If children are well disciplined, it's seldom that punishment is necessary.

Rachel said...

Have you researched into "time ins?"

Bullfrogs & Butterflies Baby said...

As a mom of 4 little ones, I've found that learning which method of discipline works for each child is definitely a journey filled with trial and error. It sounds like you are doing well in your journey. One thing I find many parents overlook is that discipline and punishment are two very different things. IMO, Discipline comes from a position of teaching followed by an appropriate consequence for the offense. Punishment comes from a position of retribution. You'll find what works best with each of your cuties...and probably find that when you do, you will need to discipline even less :)