I am tackling a big one here today! Disciplining your children, how do you do it? When do you start? Are you pro “spanking”? Do you think spanking messes up your kids? “Our parents did it to us and we turned out fine”… is that true? How do you decide to teach your kids that there are consequences to their actions?
As with every subject involving kids, everyone has an opinion that they think is the correct one, and most probably it is; for them. There is no “right way” of disciplining your kids, each will have a different temperament, a different approach to life and situations, so even in your own home, one style does not fit all. So, how do I set the limits at home?
I have 3 boys, the eldest being 6 years old, the middle 4 years old, and the youngest 2, so what I do with each one is not the same, but the general guidelines are similar. There are things that are absolutely not acceptable (playing with dangerous things, hitting each other with objects, disrespecting elders, etc.), these things are important to me, but not necessarily to others. Then there are things that I take based on age and emotional/developmental stage, for example, my 2 year old still hasn’t mastered the control of his emotions, so I’m tolerant of his tantrums and crying fits, but I will not tolerate it from my 6 year old because we established a verbal communication channel that he can use instead of crying (I am referring to the whiney cry here, not the “I need to be held” kind).
Furthermore, when each child is on his own, they act differently than when they are together in a group, so when my 4 year old does a mistake when we are alone, I know the intention was to do it and so he’s held accountable for it, but I wouldn’t be as tough if I knew he did it because he saw his older brother do it, which requires a different approach to the subject.
Let me give you examples of different situations and how I handle them:
- Sa’ad (6 years) teaches Hamad (2 years) how to say a bad word, and every time Hamad uses it Sa’ad giggles. Hamad wont get any attention from me about using the word, it would only make him say it for a longer period, Sa’ad would get a talk from myself or my husband, then his weekend iPad privileges would be revoked for 1 day.
- Meshal (4 years) pushes Hamad by mistake while they play catch. No one would be punished, but Meshal would get a talk about safer playing methods and how he should be taking care of his younger brother.
- Sa’ad and Meshal get into a fight over the football which ends up in kicking and punching. Both would get timeouts first to cool down, then a talk each, then no treats on our Thursday family lunch. If they do it again the same day, they get another privilege revoked.
These are some examples of discipline in our house, we use spanking for major issues, like purposely trying to hurt each other, but try to avoid it as much as we can. I truly believe that for boys a clear line should be drawn with what they can or cannot do as their limit testing goes on for a long time. With the relaxed ways parents are disciplining their kids now-a-days, my husband and I are very particular about manners and respect for others, which seem to have been lost in the new generations, therefore these come high on our parenting list.
Having a clear goal for your discipline methods helps you and your child parent better, sit down with your partner and prioritise whats important to you when it comes to raising your child, and based on that decide how you will guide your child to reach that goal. Both you and your spouse have to be on board, as undermining each other will get you nowhere, it could actually make a minor problem worse.
Let me know your thoughts! What’s important to your family and how do you go about instilling them in your kids?