Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's Your Parenting Style on Discipline

I know this post is treading on controversial ground among professionals as well as mothers, but with a fully active toddler discipline is a subject I'm constantly being faced with and something I'd like to throw out there for conversation.

So what do you do when your toddler throws their whole dinner on the ground because they don't want to eat it? When they hit you or throw a loud, screaming tantrum in the middle of the store because they aren't getting what they want? When are they old enough to start really understanding that something is wrong and at what age should disciplinary actions be taken to enforce what we are trying to teach them?

Shortly after Mia turned 1 and was becoming more mobile and talkative, these were the sorts of questions running through my mind. Since then I have learned from my studies and through watching other mothers that there are a lot of different views and opinions on the subject of disciplining children as they are taught right from wrong. Here's my two cents on the matter:

First off I'll just state this up front...I am pro discipline.Now I'm not talking spankings or yell even though I will admit there have been times when I have lost my cool and have ended up yelling at my kids. Saying this I would like to put out there that I recognize that I am not a perfect mother and that I am still learning. I also recognize that each child is different and reacts to things differently. Therefore, take this as merely my stance on the subject and my views on what has worked for me so far.

A quote from THIS address given by President James E. Faust states my views on the subject of discipline perfectly! "Direction and discipline are certainly an indispensable part of child rearing. If parents do not discipline their children, then the public will discipline them in a way the parents do not like. Without discipline, children will not respect either the rules of the home or of society."

So that being said, I think there comes a time in a child's age when there needs to be a consequence for their actions for them to learn that something is wrong rather then just stating that it's a "no-no". For Mia it was between 18-24 months. I learned that starting earlier rather then later is best. My method was putting her in timeout facing a designated corner after firmly explaining to her why she was now in timeout. Let me tell you how much I hate this stage of disciplining! Although I tried to be consistent, I felt like Mia wasn't grasping a thing I was teaching her even after some days feeling like I spent most of my time putting Mia in timeout. Just when I was loosing hope and thinking I was going to be the worst mother at trying to raise a decent and well behaved child (while trying to keep in mind that she was only 2) Mia finally started making the connection between her actions and the consequences. I think because we started a little earlier with trying to help her learn the consequence of her actions rather then thinking she was too young to grasp what we were doing gave her the chance to learn as she developed and began to understand new things quicker then if we started later. Granted she still is not a perfect child in always obeying nor do I expect her to be, but I do get that "proud mommy" moment when I see Mia obeying me and doing as she should. 

To sum up what I've learned thus far:
- Read books, study up and seek advice on the topic of disciplining children but most importantly do what will work best for your child that will still be effective since you know them best.
- Start at a young age even if they don't seem to quite understand. I think it's better for them to grow to make the connect instead of trying to teach them later when in the past there has been no consequence tied to their actions.
-Try to really point out when they make progress however big or small. It warms my heart when I tell Mia how proud I am of her for being such a good girl and listening to Mommy and she gets all giddy with a big smile and yells, "Hooray, I did it!".
- Be consistent and push through!!! It's NO fun to discipline my kids, but I do it out of love in hopes that they can grow up to be respectful and obedient adults.
-Seek support. One day when I was feeling tired out on disciplining Mia and wondering if I was even doing it right I read a friends blog on the subject of disciplining her kids and it make me grateful that I wasn't the only one out there who was struggling with it and hated it.
-Something I am always having to remind myself...they're still just kids that are still learning and growing. Give them a break on the not so important things and try to just stress the things that matter most to you.

Do you believe in disciplining your children? At what age? And what are some things you've done that have worked to teach your children right from wrong? I would love to hear your answers and advice!

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  1. We do a similar disciple. Our kids have to sit in the corner, and thankfully where ever we are there are corners, face the corner and think. As hard as it is, our 6,4,and 2 year olds know what the procedure is for when they have misbehaved.
    I don't think discipline is ever easy. But I do agree if kids face consequences both good and bad, are given boundaries, and lots of love, they are more likely to be awesome kids.
    I do know for me I watch other parents, especially while at church, or social functions. It is interesting to see how other parents parent, and what is acceptable and not. I teach in the youth at church, and it is interesting to see the differences in how the kids act, and what is acceptable and not. It directly reflects on how the parents parent. I am not saying I am perfect by in any way. But I do know how I don't want my kids to become.
    I did have an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday. She said her kids want everything, but she always tells them no. She said she didn't grow up with everything she wanted, but she did have what she needed. And that it helped her to grow up to be an adult that is content with life, what she has, and doesn't "want everything". She is inspiring me to become content with what I have so I can help my children to become content with what they have.
    I don't think I will have it all figured out before my kids are grown, and that is ok. But as long as my kids have boundaries and disciple and love they will be ok.

    1. I love this! Thanks for your comment! I've never thought about the importance of teaching my kids to be content through my example of being content with what I have even though my parents where really good about bringing me up that way. This is definitely something I want to start working on as well! I also love how you paired boundaries and disciple as well as love. All very important things to have when raising kids.

  2. My favorite book is "Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline" by Becky Bailey. It will change your life. It doesn't mean that I'm prefect at it, but it has helped me understand how to be a good parent a lot better.

    1. Just added to my list of books to read! Thanks for the tip!

  3. Here are a few things that I try hard to always do when disciplining:
    -be consistent
    -show increased love after following through with unpleasant consequences
    -Listen and try to understand the motives behind behavior. This has been a big one for me lately because my automatic reaction when I catch my kiddos causing mischief is to jump on the consequence right away, but sometimes they are trying to be helpful or doing something really sweet and then all I see is the mess they are making. When I listen to them, or understand their motives, I'm usually more effective at redirecting their behavior and helping them learn.
    -Pray, pray, pray, because heaven knows how HARD parenting is!!!

    You are such a great example of a wonderful Mom Hanna!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I am definitely trying to work on understanding the motives behind the behavior. A lot of the time Mia is just trying to be helpful and I just see it as another thing I have to clean up as well. I also love that we can pray to get guidance on how to raise each child specifically to their needs. I'm so glad we don't have to do it all on our own without some help in knowing what to do!


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