Posts tagged - discipline

Discipline dilemmas

I have been giving some thought to discipline recently as we approach the ‘terrible twos’ and recently asked this question on babyhuddle.

This week, I also read Mama-andmore’s blog post over at BritMums, on whether how much you work influence’s how much you discipline your kids. Perhaps I’m noticing blogs about discipline more because that’s where my focus lies, or perhaps it’s a sign. I don’t know. Either way, I decided to write a blog about it, partly to answer Mama-and more’s question and partly to figure it out for myself.

I work part-time and on the days I work Mushroom is usually well behaved – apart of a bit of a whinge on the way home from nursery (sometimes I think he prefers it there!) – but when I’m at home it’s a different story. He’s much more likely to play me up if we’re together all day. I would therefore say I’m dishing out more discipline on the days we’re at home, so I guess I would be a little more strict if I was a SAHM*. There are, however, certain rules, which apply regardless of whether I’ve been at work or not. The main ones are: Bedtime is between 6 and 8, with few exceptions (Christmas day at my sister-in-law’s house being the most recent exception), and we don’t do anything that hurts other people – regardless of who started it. Other rules we stick to include: We don’t draw on the walls or the floor, we don’t throw food and we don’t take things from other people without asking. However, the response to these are softer, e.g. If  he draws on the floor or walls he cleans it up. The same applies to throwing food. If he takes something from someone then he has to give it back and we ask permission together (he points and says ‘eh?’ and I translate if it’s an adult. Children usually get the gist) then he says ‘ta’ or signs ‘thank you’ if he is given it back. Being a typical toddler, Mushroom of course challenges these rules on a regular basis.

Sometimes Mummy needs time out too

As he got to about 14/15 months, I tried a few techniques, – a short time out in his cot or highchair (with me staying in the room) at first and more recently, ‘circle time’ (inspired by Woman Wife and Mum‘s answer to my babyhuddle question). This is just 90 seconds in his old playnest in the hallway – so it’s not in its usual context – after which he says ‘sorry’ (he strokes my arm of the arm of the adult/child he’s hurt) and we have a cuddle. This becomes ‘corridor time’ when we were at a someone else’s house (or if he’s actually been playing in the playnest at the time). I try not to overdo it and do let some things slide from time to time but there are certain things that are never ok in any context (such as hurting other people).

My dilemma is this: He is generally well behaved and although he has the odd tantrum, they are generally short-lived and he can be easily distracted. Repeated challenging behaviour, therefore, can often be a sign he’s getting sick. It took me a while to figure this out. He’s not quite talking yet so maybe it’s his way of trying to communicate. I try to give him the language by asking him if he’s poorly, or if any body part is hurting (signing and pointing at the same time). Sometimes he points to his teeth but other times, nothing. Then two days after I’m almost in tears with frustration at his behaviour he’ll wake up in the middle of the night and vomit all over the cot (for example). That’s when the guilt grabs me. Another dilemma is when Mr B disciplines him (or doesn’t) and I disagree. I never undermine him, especially as I think it’s important for Mushroom to know that Daddy isn’t just for fun and must be respected too, but I do worry that he’s getting mixed messages from us. I guess that’s something that will work itself out – we do discuss it afterwards so we avoid making the same mistake twice but what do you do in this case?

This weekend has been an especially challenging one, with Mushroom refusing to sit at the table for meals, repeatedly taking things that aren’t his (he knows this as he tries to hide them) and hitting me and Mr B. It doesn’t help when Mr B ‘pretends’ to hit back but it also might be my fault for letting him play with the Talking Tom app (for a few extra minutes in bed! Selfish Mummy)  on my phone without disabling the violence – which I have now done!

I am trying to be consistent when it comes to discipline but if it turns out he’s sick, well….

What are your discipline dilemmas and how do you resolve (or learn to live with!) them?

*Stay-at-home-mum, just in case any non parents are reading!


Proud parenting

One of this week’s blogging prompt over at BritMums was to write about one of the seven deadly sins. For those of you who need a reminder, they are: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony.

I’ve just started reading 50 Shades of Grey and was toying with the idea of writing about lust but a) I hope Mushroom reads this blog one day so perhaps that isn’t appropriate and b) something happened today that made me think about pride. So, pride it is…

This afternoon Mushroom and I were playing in the local park. He has just learned how to kick a ball and we were playing football. Sort of. After about 15 minutes he got a bit fed up and ran over to the bandstand where another boy was running around in circles. The boy was a lot bigger than Mushroom but, as it turned out, he was only 2. Mushroom just wanted to follow him around and do everything he did so I let him, for the most part, and had a chat with the child’s Mum. She was complaining that the local nurseries ‘are no good.’ I told her that Mushroom goes to a good local nursery and she frowned when I told her which one. ‘Really? But they don’t do anything with the children!’ I said that her comment surprised me, as Mushroom is always coming home with artwork, or sometimes something he has ‘helped’ to bake, and that they do a lot of structured play during the day. She was less than impressed. ‘They don’t teach them to stand in a line, or sleep in a row, or anything! They just play all day!’ This was when I realised that this Mother and I are worlds apart. Firstly, they do learn to stand in line and take turns – it’s probably not listed as something they ‘teach,’ as it’s just part of the socialisation process. They also do learn to sleep in a row. As for the fact they ‘play’ all day? Well, they’re just children!  She didn’t seem to believe anything I told her about the nursery so I decided just to drop it.  I wasn’t enjoying her company much by now but Mushroom was still following her son around so I just let her talk some more and stayed quiet.

After a while, her son jumped down from the bandstand and ran through a muddy puddle – as kids do – at which she ran over to him, grabbed his arm and shouted in his face ‘If you do that again I will slap you in your face!’ She half turned to me with smile on her face. Perhaps I was misreading her but it looked to me like pride. I wasn’t about to ask. Her son didn’t seem bothered by the threat but he did immediately move from the puddle.

I don’t know whether judgement is considered a sin but it is something I usually try to avoid, however, in this instance, I judged her. I judged her parenting style and didn’t like it and I felt proud of the way I am parenting Mushroom. I have never hit him, or threatened to hit him, and I don’t intend to. I would hope that if I ever did, it would be to protect him from impending danger and that I would apologise and explain afterwards. I certainly wouldn’t even think about hitting him in his face.

What do you think? Am I wrong to judge? Obviously there is a lot about this woman I don’t know – perhaps she was doing what has been done to her in the past and doesn’t know any different. Maybe her pride was in her son’s good behaviour rather than her threat of discipline… I know all this and yet, I judged her and if I’m honest I still do. Would you/have you hit your child? Do you ever compare yourself to others and feel pride in your parenting? I’d love to hear your views so please do comment below!