Friday, March 26, 2010

Disciplining is SO CONVOLUTED!

Being a mom - no, disciplining, is SO CONVOLUTED! From the moment I was born, I began playing with dolls. OK – maybe not from the “moment” of birth. But, I do have a photo of me holding a doll at the age of two months old; and my earliest memories are of me playing with dolls and pretending to be a mom. That was my big dream. And I was quite sure that my kids were going to be extremely well behaved – all the time. (totaly unrealistic)

But, here I am now… a mother of youth who are most definitely NOT “extremely well behaved – all the time.” I still love being a mom. But it is Not what I expected; I am NOT the perfect mother I thought I would be, and I DON’T have that magical knack for discipline. Oh, but I pray for that talent – still! - In fact, I beg the Lord to give it to me, for the sakes of my children! I pray that I won’t “ruin” them!

Why is it SO HARD to know what to do? Oh – I know – Maybe it’s because kids are sometimes manipulative, and sometimes say things which can promote the idea that we aren’t good parents if we don’t take away those pesky consequences (Not my kids though.. not yours either, right? ;). Maybe it’s because we aren’t sure how strict to be... or what a fair punishment is… and they know it! Maybe it’s because it takes so much time and energy to figure out what to do every time something goes wrong… and some things we seem to never figure out!

Don’t get me wrong – None of my kids are juveniles. Sibling rivalry is most of what they struggle with. They are all very good people, of which I am very grateful. But sometimes my kids get so angry at me for a consequence I let them go through. Sometimes I feel so good about what I am doing, no matter how angry they are; and sometimes I am so unsure and confused about what to do. But I have to do what I can, with the constant hope that they will learn to be wise NOW – while the steaks are low.

I wish that if I did the right thing as a parent – that I could be sure that they would then make the best choices. But I know it doesn’t work that way.

I think it boils down to free agency. I think that when you parent with freedom, sometimes your kids are going to make wrong choices. And when they do, you have to remember that it isn’t your fault that they are making the wrong choice (At least, that’s what I tell myself – I hope it’s true!). In the long run, I believe this is the best way to parent; but it is hard to stick to it because if I would just force my kids to do the right thing, right now – I would get the results I want right now. Why then, don’t I “make” them do the right thing? Because I don’t believe the results of force are lasting. I think force leads to eventual rebellion (even if it is when the kids leave home), and since I really love my kids - that isn’t the result I am seeking.

So, for now… I will keep trying. I will keep praying for wisdom. I will continue to teach my kids the consequences of right and wrong choices and to love them regardless of the choices they make. I will continue to let them make mistakes, and let them suffer the consequences. And I will hope and pray that they will learn wisdom from their mistakes along the way, and will find the strength with in them to make the best choices – before the consequences become terribly big.

PS. But what do you do when you don't know what the consequences should be? I wonder what other parents do when their kids call each other names, or belittle each other? I really wish I knew! Does anyone have an answer for me? I really hope that everyone who reads this will comment - I need all the help I can get!!!  Thanks!


  1. When my kids fight the ones involved are sent downstairs until they can come back up and sing 'We Are A Happy Family' together. They hate me when I send them down but they always come back upstairs smiling and good-naturedly teasing each other.

    It probably wouldn't work for everyone, but it works around here. ;)

  2. Yowza! Hard stuff this parenting isn't it? I find many times that I've no idea what to do. If I have my head on straight and think things through I usually go to my knees and ask Heavenly Father for help. I tell Him that these are His children and He knows them way better than I and what is best for them so HELP ME CUZ I REALLY REALLY NEED IT!!! :)

    When one of The Native's is being a turd to the others I make them "Serve em' till you love em'". In other words, they have to do service for the person they've offended. Their chores, stuff like that.

    Good luck!!

  3. Rachel - The best part about your idea is that it really is a true principle; when you serve someone, your love for them grows... and with that love comes greater empathy! Rock on Rachel! ;D

  4. Yay!! Glad I could help. Now let's just hope this works! :D

  5. It IS going to work!!! I JUST KNOW IT! I am also taking a spin off of Gerb's idea, and re-instituting the one-on-one relationship building time that we used to have among family members.



There is a ripple effect in all that we do; what you do touches me, what I do touches you...

THANK YOU for your comments; you add so much insight and brighten my day! :)