Guest Post | What I've Learned About Discipline
Today’s post is from Leila Briales, an amazing wife + Mama of 2 little boys. I love that Leila confronts every day responses to basic scenarios. We tend to overlook the simple things we do daily that contribute either positively/negatively to our loved ones self image.
Now that I am a parent I am seeing how much an impact I have on my children, based on issues I have now (in adulthood) that stem from my childhood. It is a lot of pressure to want to be the best parent you can be while dealing with your own personal demons. You are often afraid of passing them onto your offspring. The best thing you can do for your child is to educate yourself about what being a good parent looks like for a healthy, happy child. I grew up in a home where spankings were the ultimate punishment. “Spare the rod, spoil the child” was the phrase used to support this type of punishment. Although I do believe discipline is necessary, I do not think it should be the first, second or even the third go to method.
As an adult, think about how it would feel to be hit by someone who says they love you. We would see that as domestic abuse, but what if the person saw it as just trying to get you to “listen to them” or “obey.” No matter what their reasoning is... it would devastate you. You would begin to walk on pins + needles afraid of being hit again. Your self-esteem would be affected. You would slowly start to die inside, along with many other negative emotional responses. SO why on earth would you repeatedly use the act of “hitting” to discipline?
There are times when it may be warranted. A blatant act of disrespect or malicious behavior needs a more serious punishment than your average disobedient behavior. I would rather my child receive a harsh punishment from me that inflicts emotional pain than to grow up to be a young adult who ends up dead or in prison. Breaking a child’s spirit is only important when the child’s behavior is detrimental to the success of the child’s future. How can you tell the difference? What is he/she doing? What rules are you putting in place that may be easy or difficult to be followed for this child.
Here’s an example: My son is extremely busy. In fact sometimes he will NOT STOP moving! He loves to watch movies in mommy + daddy’s room on our bed. I do not like him jumping on my bed, because usually my bed is made up nicely. I have made a rule that will be hard for him as an energetic, toddler boy to live up to. Once I’ve done this, I have a few options, I could:
Which one would you think is the proper punishment for him? I will break down the concern with all three options...
#1 // DENIAL // Let’s say your answer was option #1, which you choose to maintain your rules for how you want things done in your home. I will tell you why this is detrimental to your child. All a child wants is to feel loved. They don’t understand your reasoning for rules + guidelines. Most likely, they won’t understand until they are much older. Denying your child a simple pleasure that makes them feel inherently closer to you is like cutting off the maturing bond between the two of you. Seems extreme? It isn’t.
CLICK TO TWEET | Denying your child a simple pleasure that makes them feel inherently closer to you is like cutting off the maturing bond between the two of you @seidafthc
If I tell him he cannot lay on my bed to watch a movie, he subconsciously understands this in his mind as my bed being more important to me than he is. That I am unwilling to share what is so precious to me with him, because he isn’t “good enough” or won’t lay still on the bed like a good boy. This could be the beginning of encouraging self-doubt in your child. Now I know not everything should be open game to your children, but just like in your relationship with your spouse - you should pick your battles daily. Always asking yourself: Is this something worth fighting with him on for his future betterment? Or will this be another negative aspect of his day...another “no” to add to the list of many? So let him mess up your neatly made bed + enjoy a movie! As crazy as it seems, cuddle him up in your covers. Smelling your scent is nurturing to him. He is feeling loved without even needing you to lay there with him.
#2 // DISCIPLINE // Now it’s possible option #2 is the method used to alter the behavior. You CAN lie on my bed, but if you mess it up you are “getting it.” You are setting the bar far too high for a child. As a toddler, he is not built to sit still while watching an action packed film. It is not possible-- unless you have a very mild-mannered child. Notice I didn’t say well behaved, because busy DOES NOT mean bad. Of course he disobeys + the spanking ensues until you become so frustrated you kick him off the bed + out of your room. This will subconsciously rewrite in his mind how the experience, which was supposed to be positive + nurturing, actually felt bad + left him - emotionally - feeling unloved.
He may now associate the fact that his effort to connect with you in a small way is not worth the risk. Have you ever had a friend who laid in the bed with his or her mom to chat + thought to yourself…. “That’s weird! I never did that growing up.” Do you wonder why? Because it was closed off to you. If there wasn’t an open door somewhere else in your childhood to allow you to feel close to your parents then you probably didn’t even WANT to talk to them. Whether it was at the kitchen table or on the couch watching tv, because of what was instilled in you as a toddler.
#3 // SITTING // For the last option, I’d definitely say this would be the best way to handle it. Although ideally our kids would love to go crazy with no repercussion, sometimes enough is enough! Breaking a portrait off the wall could be the result if they are not calmed down. So warn them first. Let them know the first time what will happen if they continue to jump around, so that there is a clear understanding. They will most likely forget + start once more. The next occurrences have your child repeat your request back to you + ask them to tell you what will happen if they disobey. This opens up the door for communication + ensures that your child understands what is expected of them.
It is creating an aspect of responsibility for one's actions at a young age. If the behavior continues, have them sit on the floor. You have now taken away something they enjoy, but only after they know you have tried to give them a chance. They understand their actions caused them to miss out on what they wanted.Doing this consistently will help build a relationship with your child based on respect + responsibility - not rules + punishment. This can help in the teen years when your child goes through puberty. Already establishing/maintaining a relationship built on respect + communication opens the door for them to open up.
What ideas do you have about discipline methods for your children? Got a tip that’s not on this list? Leave a note in the comment section or send me a message in the FTHC Tribe Lounge! Can’t wait to chat with you!
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