Disciplining Children-Why Bother

6/27/2012 01:42:00 PM Posted by mommy2twincesses

While I’m still on my “child discipline” soapbox I figured I may as well finish what I started, so here it goes.
In my last post on disciplining children I told you about the Facebook incident that sparked this very conversation. I gave a brief rundown of the discipline methods we use and hopefully some of you will stop by there and share what works for you as well. And because I just can’t get the subject off my mind, I’ll continue with my views here. Please save all stones until the end ;)
In case you missed it, I shared a behavior we’d been struggling with, how I was handling it, and asked for further suggestions. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t shocked that the majority of my readers agreed that I should simply ignore the behavior (which was swearing by the way). Really? Ignore my 3 year olds dropping curse words? Not in this lifetime, not in this family!
I’m all for ignoring some things, picking my battles, and all that jazz, but in my humble opinion it is simply unacceptable for a child to use swear words. (And if you don’t have a problem with your child swearing, then by no means do I intend to put down your parenting, this is just the subject on which the topic started so choose something you feel strongly about and think about it in those terms!)
Ignoring worked well for nose picking, tantrums, and minor “every child does that at some point” misdemeanors, but I won’t even entertain the idea of ignoring something as repulsive as swearing like a sailor.
All of these kinds of responses, as well as the overall drastic change of environment in classroom settings, and civility in general, has me thinking, “Is this what’s wrong with “kids today”? Is this why we can’t visit public spaces without my children being hit or pushed? Is this “the problem with the world today”?”
Disciplining children is difficult. It’s a hassle and a headache and is just plain no fun, but the bottom line is “someone’s got to do it or we’re all going to hell in a hand basket”. Our world, our lives in general depend a great deal on knowing boundaries. The thought of parenting with the general philosophy of “ignore” or “solely focus on the positive” concerns me a great deal. (I should note that I’m in NO way suggesting that the lovely ladies that commented on this topic meant that they SOLELY ignore or whatnot, the overwhelming consensus in general, got me thinking-that’s all.)
It is said that “change is good”, but I’m not seeing a whole lot of “good” coming out of the newer parenting philosophies. When I was growing up I knew without a doubt what was allowed, what wasn’t, and what would happen if I tested the waters too far. I knew that there were different rules at home and in public, and that acting like a crazy person in public was a sure fire way to get my backside lit up.
Someone posted a lengthy quote from Dr. Dorothy Law Nolte and in it she talks about children learning what they live with. I fully agree with what she had to say and added my own: “If children live with parents who ignore all wrong they do, they’ll learn they’re never wrong and can act any way they wish.”
The media smears parents, weekly it seems, for crossing the lines of appropriate discipline and I believe that scares some into thinking that it’s better to just skip discipline altogether. In contrast I think it would be doing the world a much bigger favor if they would smear the parents who do their children the injustice of NOT disciplining them when needed.
Yes, you heard me right! Instead of publicly humiliating mothers who use child harnesses to TRY and control their children, why don’t they showcase the one who shops leisurely while her little “angel” dismantles racks of clothing or runs amok through the store?!
It is my honest opinion that more people “abuse” their children by pure lack of discipline than those who “abuse” through discipline. Not teaching a child social norms is neglect and therefore abuse, in my opinion. Very little to no discipline is setting your child up for failure and will undoubtedly cause you both more grief and heartache in the long run than fighting a couple of relatively simple battles while they’re still young.
There is no definite “right or wrong”, “black or white”, “this way or that” that will apply in every situation. The rules will be different in every household, but every household should have rules and breaking said rules should lead to consequence.
What is your take on discipline? Do you think that the shift in parenting away from traditional forms of discipline is affecting our society?


  1. Emily said...

    We did a lot of redirecting until my daughter turned 2 and when I felt she had a better understanding I started looking for discipline options. I read "Playful Parenting" by Lawrence Cohen and absolutely loved it. It's really helped my family a lot. Here's a link to a website about the book in case you're interested: http://www.playfulparenting.com/

  2. mommy2twincesses said...

    Thanks Emily! I'm always interested in creative discipline options :o)

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