I have been reading Dr. Sears’ book on Discipline. Sometimes, I am afraid that I am too lenient.

Per usual, my mother looms large in my decision making process. That fastidious woman ran a very tight ship. Five kids, and the house was impeccable. Dinner was on the table at 6:00. We said please and thank-you. We had to say, “May I be excused,” to get up from the table.

Fear was definitely a weapon in my parents’ arsenal. They relied heavily on corporal punishment, and did not spare the rod. And she was quick to remind me that ever lasting damnation awaited little girls who disobeyed their parents. We obeyed.

I understand that it’s a parents’ job to help form their kids into responsible adults, but I don’t want my children to be afraid of me. However, I fear I go too far in the other direction.

Lately, my son has become very interested in the table. He will stand on his tippy toes, and peek over. He then tries to grab whatever he can. So I have taken to putting organic cereal at the very edge. Meanwhile, the dog is right on his heels.

This is what they like to do. He grabs the cereal and tosses it on the floor. He and the dog both dive under the table and wrestle with each other to get to the little O’s. The dog usually wins.

I see this and think, this is something my mother would not have allowed.


11 thoughts on “Discipline

  1. Ha! That cereal trick is a good one. We’re past that now, but I will file it away. About the discipline thing– it’s tough for sure. Even more tough to get two people on the same page with it. We are NOT. Nic is learning more about the concept of Emotional Intelligence, which she seems really into– you might want to check it out, she’s a smart cookie with a nice way about her. I need a new way. I couldn’t stand it if H only did what I wanted to because she was afraid of me. Honestly though- if that’s what gets her to quit drinking someday– it’s OK with me. (Absolutely afraid to tell my father that I got pulled over and almost landed in jail. Quitting actually seemed easier!– at the time…)

  2. My mom relied on fear too. But there was never any corporal punishment. There’s this look you need to develop. I don’t know how she did it, but it was really effective. She’d purse her lips and narrow her eyes. Your dog must worship Li’l Guy.

  3. Hey Susan, is Emotional Intelligence a book or just a line of thinking? I would be interested to hear more about it.

    Rosie, I have been trying to cultivate that very look. When lil’ guy is about to put something into his mouth that I don’t want him too, I scrunch up my face and in a deep voice, I say “No!” And you know what he does? He laughs! Does he know I don’t have a Plan B?

  4. Discipline means to teach.

    You can teach with laughter and joy.

    Your son has already learned that he’s slower than the dog.

    And he’s young. Sit down with him and he’ll copy you instead of the dog, plus, it’s good to get off your feet.

    The bad moms are pretty sure everything they do is perfect, second guessing yourself is normal.

  5. Housewife, I really like that definition. You are teaching someone and helping them grow as a person.

  6. BTW – normally, we eat like human beings sitting down. He doesn’t have to fend off animals at every meal. I promise.

  7. Love your last comment–what a hoot–doesn’t have to fend off animals at every meal–ha!

    I try really hard to pick my battles. Some of the things that were important to my mom aren’t important to me.

  8. It’s funny how ‘echoes’ of our own childhoods occur when we are taking care of kids. I don’t have kids of my own, as you know, and it took many, many years for me to ‘get over’ my own childhood. Now that I would like kids, it’s kinda late.

  9. Hi Karen,

    I have been thinking a lot about choosing my battles lately. For example, I was a teenager in the 80s, and everybody had crazy hair, myself included. It was a major battle point between my mom and me. However, I outgrew it by the time I was 17, and was looking normal again. I have decided, lil’ guy can do whatever he wants with his hair.

    So now, I am in process of deciding what is important to me. You would think that I would know, but I don’t. I want him to eat healthy, and be safe. He isn’t allowed to hurt the animals. Outside of that, I’m just not sure yet.

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