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Monday Morning Parenting: Spare the Rod...What Rod?!

Monday, June 7, 2010

I remember the fear of a spanking was enough to keep me in line and on the rare occasion that I overstepped that line, a warning look from my mom was enough to stop me dead in my tracks. This seems to be a lost art in today's parenting culture. I thought I wouldn't have to think about disciplining my child until she was at least a year old. But, as with other developmental milestones, she seems to be ahead of schedule. Marlie is showing early signs of misbehavior like shaking her head no when you tell her to give you whatever she's hiding in her hands or flailing her limbs and screeching like a banshee if you take something away from her or turning into dead weight when she doesn't want to be picked up.

One of my greatest fears is being THAT mother. You are familiar with her. She's the frazzled mom at the grocery store, mall, playground, school recital, doctor's office with the unruly kid(s). They are climbing all over furniture, running through the aisles, throwing things, wailing at the top of their lungs while mom either pleads with said kid(s) to behave or ignores it. I used to shake my head at these mothers and their lack of control over their kid(s). I no longer judge.

I was with Marlie at Target last week. I should point out that Marlie is usually a perfect angel in public. Back to the story. So we're in the detergent aisle when a blood-curdling scream pierces our peaceful shopping atmosphere. Uh oh. I quickly grabbed a box of Borax and headed for checkout. We pass a boy, about 4 years old, and his mom in the next row over. He is having a full blown tantrum on the floor complete with fist pumps, kicking, and shrieking until his face turned red. I tried not to stare as I slowly walk by, but he was giving an Oscar-caliber performance. His mother was saying something about taking him straight home and skipping a trip to the park. Wrong move, sister. His tantrum escalates and he starts shouting loudly, "I hate you mommy!" over and over. As I am waiting in line, I see them approach. Everyone at the registers is looking at this sad picture of a mom cutting her shopping trip short because her son wants to tell all of Target that he hates her. How does a child even learn to use this word? They exit the store. I look at my angel and realize that she has been watching the entire episode. She looks right into my eyes, opens her mouth, and lets out a tentative cry. Excuse me? I stare right back, wag my finger and say "no way missy. you aren't learning any bad habits today." Amazingly, she stops the fake crying. Did I successfully reason with her or am I imagining it?

At what age did you start disciplining your child(ren), what disciplinary methods work for your family?


Christina said...

I've not yet had to discipline Izzy (6mo) , but I can feel it coming soon. She already has temper tantrums where she takes a toy and beats it on her leg, the ground, mommy, whatever she can reach. I have no idea how to nip that in bud now, so that she doesn't think it's appropriate later.

I too came from a household where just the fear of a spanking kept me in line, at least for the most part. It's appealing to me, because the kind of respect that we had for our parents is the same kind of respect we want our kids to have, but I wonder if that can be acheived without spanking?

Honestly, I foresee spankings in Izzy's future, but she's so far away from that age that (hopefully) there's plenty of time for me to find a lot of alternatives, and make sure that she knows how to behave so that spanking doesnt ever even come into play.

K. Rock said...

Discipline starts form day 1 in some form. My middle daughter is quite a whiner but the approach that I take is to talk to her like I talk to anyone else and reason with her. If she is crying because Dad is not home, I explain to her where he is, why he there, and when he will be back. Then she will calm down. This works for us because she is used to it.

But if she gets out of hand, i have no problem with spanking if I have to.

Debbie said...

I think it is never too early to let your kids know what it acceptable and unacceptable behavior. That poor Target mom. But how does a kid that small learn to say those things?

Serenityville said...

Definitely imagining it! :D How mom's put up with kids' crazy is beyond me. I hear your fears and mine are so strong they keep me from having kids. I know I would lose it on too many occasions, and while I don't think I'd hit them, I would really, really want to. I can be a verbal viper and wouldn't want to inflict that on anyone who wasn't legally able to drown the pain in alcohol.

Unknown said...

I feel that discipline should be started right away. And being a mom of 4 children with different personalities - discipline may mean different things for each specific child. For example, I can look at one child with a stern look and they will straighten out there attitude. Another child will literally laugh at me when I tell them no or give them a slap on the back of the hand so I have to take them aside and work through it with them until they understand.

My children are all still young, but I feel that it is very important to deal with things right away and always be consistent. Kids are smart no matter what age and if they see that they can get away with something just one time, they are likely to do it again.


keyalus said...

I like what Dawn said and I think that is the philosophy I will probably adopt. My husband said that spankings meant nothing to him while I lived in fear of a beating and rarely acted up. I will do whatever is necessary to not be THAT woman in the store.

Lewis is so much more active now so I know this will be coming up soon. I am hoping he falls into the stern look category. He was into something he shouldn't have been the other night and a stern "No" from me sent him into tears (I felt terrible!).

The Redhead Riter said...

Even now Alyssa knows that if she is disobedient, I'm going to talk to her for hours about the mistake...at least that is what it feels like. She told me recently she used to wish that I had just spanked her so it could be over LOL LOL

The other thing is I told her and she believed me for a reallllly long time that something was wrong with my ears and I couldn't hear whining. She tested that statement. She whined. I acted like I didn't hear her. Instead, I would start a happy conversation with her. After a few times, she totally believed I couldn't hear her. If she whined in the car, I would turn the song on the radio up a little and say, "Oh Alyssa, don't you love this song." She would always stop, listen and then look at me like I had lost my mind. Very funny thinking back at it now.

Don't know if that will work with Marlie, but you will figure out something that works the best. Just remember, DO THE SAME THING EVERY TIME AND TOTALLY DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU'RE GOING TO DO. Threats, I found, do not work because kids are in the NOW. Changing NOW usually changes their attitude.

Ms. Understood said...

I agree discipline is a day one thing. I don't have any children yet, so I'm commenting with limited knowledge. I know I didn't have to be spanked. My mom and dad shot me looks that put the fear of God in me. Like K. Rock said, if they are of an age where you can reason and provide explanation of what's going to to them, then that is helpful. I also believe children are very perception of facial expressions and voice tones. They know when you mean business. I think a lot of bad behavior is considered cute when a child is an infant and is reinforced my voice tones and facial expressions that signify rewards to children. It's hard to change that behavior that was reinforced for a couple years. No, that child learned to say "I hate you" from somewhere, that might be the source of the problem.

Maureensk said...

I guess I start some sort of discipline when my kids are aged one. For the most part, I try to use reasoning with them though. I have used time outs though, mostly around age 5 or so. Usually, I try for natural consequences. Currently, V is learning that it is better when Mommy can trust you. She wanted my lip balm and I told her not to eat it and that I would have to take it from her if she did. She got that look and sure enough, took a big bite. So she lost it. Then that afternoon, she wanted something else and I told her she couldn't have it since I couldn't trust her not to eat it. I don't know if she understood, but she sure did get upset. Yesterday, we tried the lip balm again and she didn't eat it, so it seems like it may be sinking in some. I use all natural lip balm BTW, so she is not ingesting toxic stuff, still it probably isn't great for the digestive system.

Radical Selfie said...

Discipline starts pretty much immediately. You'll have a pretty decent idea when Marley needs to be talked to and reasoned with, versus when she needs you to be the parent and show her what boundaries and definitive statements are made of. My Marley (now 6) is that child that not only pushes the envelope, but lines her size 13.5 shoe up with said envelope and roundhouse kicks that thing off the table. She needs me to stare her square in the face, nose-to-nose and remind her that her crazy ass Jamaican mama will roll on the ground with her if need be. I try to remind her that SHE is in control in such that if she doesn't want to elicit a response of anger in me or her dad, then do what's expected OR ask questions in a respectful manner when she doesn't agree (because in our house, it is okay for our children to disagree AND to express it). Sage, on the other hand, (age 4) is stubborn on a level that even the stare down doesn't work, so she might get um...less evolved parental discipline methods, to reinforce pre-set and pre-discussed boundaries.

You WILL know what to do, Teresha, and even when you don't, just trust that in time, you will (that's what the veteran moms are telling me anyway). Chile, dem lucky seh we nuh stay like we granny!!!

*Sorry for the novel*

Anonymous said...

I discipline my daughter already and she's 7months old. Tantrums are not acceptable in my house or out in public. If I let her do that now to get her way she will continue to do it later on in life and I for one am not having it. She gets the stern "NO" when I need to do that. She gets a stern talking to when I need to lay that on her as well. She also gets her little hands swatted when she's being a pill and doesn't listen to mommy when she says no. Believe me, they understand more than you think they do at a young age. They just want to see how far you will let them get. Princess J doesn't get very far with me.

septembermom said...

Discipline techniques do evolve over childhood. I notice that I have to change my game as my kids grow older. When they are young, I do think it's important to set up standards of proper behavior. Remember that rebellion is inevitable as they get older. It becomes a challenge to navigate through those rocky discipline waters. Can you tell that I have a teenager? LOL.

L.A. Mommy said...

Hysterical! Well, I haven't started discipling him yet, but baby boy does seem to respond to the requests I make of him. He seems to understand even though he's only 11 weeks old. We'll see how long that lasts! LOL!

Help! Mama Remote... said...

I don't know where these children come from. I'm told No often. Then I threaten her and she's cool for a brief second. We really have to watch what we say because she'll reapeat it and put it in the right sentence. I do believe in spanking. I was spanked and i'm ok.

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