Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pen to the 10 Wednesday- Post 1!

I actually had another blog in mind for the first 'Pen to the 10' post, but I've been inspired, and this inspiration requires feed back from you parents in the world. This 'Pen to the 10' post is in reference to discipline. Here it goes:
When I was a kid my mom's weapon of choice was a wooden paddle ball paddle, without the ball attached. The 'weapon' lived in the drawer just east of the fridge, and though it came out only on rare occasions, when it did, I cringed.
I can remember one rare occasion that mom chased me with that wooden paddle ball paddle. Through the kitchen and into the living room, where she popped my little butt hard enough that it stung that time. For that reason, I never ran from the paddling anymore. Don't get me wrong, it was bad enough when it didn't sting. It was demeaning, I guess, because though it didn't hurt, when she'd whip me with that paddle I'd cry like a baby and feel guilty for the rest of the day.
Her secret weapon, which became much more prevalent as I grew older, was a heavy dose of the silent treatment / disappointment. My mom was the Queen at it. Shoot, she may have even been King. She was good. If I did something wrong, lied, or disobeyed, she turned off. She had a 'look' and she just didn't speak to me. She was 'cold as ice', as the song would say. I would have rather the woman beat me with a broom. I did whatever I possibly could to avoid mom as the popsicle parent.
So what kind of 'discipline' is the 'right' kind of discipline for kids? I believe in spanking, but I question myself with it at the same time. Well, before I get into all of that, here are my 10:

1. Ignore it: I've heard people say a lot that kids will sometimes do things to get attention and if you just ignore it they'll stop. There may be a kid on this planet that works with, but I can't imagine it will be mine. Not at this point in time. My baby is young, granted, so I may change my mind on this particular tactic as time goes on, but for now I feel like I see a lot of teenagers whose parents 'ignored it' for far too long and now they don't know how to behave well.

2. Verbal Scolding: I'm a firm believer you can do this without 'yelling' at your kid, that you should change your tone and not your volume. I have no desire to completely belittle my son by yelling at him in anger. (I'm not saying that I've never, or will never mess this up. I will, and have.) I do, however, wish that he'd respond to verbal scolding at this point in life. I can't discount this completely, Bryton is still young, but I'm hoping as he gets older he will know by my tone that he's done something he's not supposed to do, and he'll feel remorse for it.

3. Take Away Privileges: I will definitely use this as he gets older. Privileges are privileges for a reason. They are not 'rights.' When a privilege is abused or behavior cannot be maintained then privileges will be taken away. It happens on a small scale now. When B continues to throw his ball onto the table, which knocks everything over, after being scolded verbally once his ball is taken away if it happens again. At this point in life I only take it away for a short period of time. I don't feel like he's old enough to remember an hour later while he still doesn't have his ball... and usually the amount of time is long enough for him to forget how fun it was to throw the ball on the table and knock everything down.

4. Time Out: When do people start this? I mean, seriously? I think it's a GREAT idea. I hope Bryton abides by it some day. At this point in life, I don't know how you ever keep a kid in a specific spot for any period of time. Do you teach them to 'stay?' because I feel like I'm talking to a dog. I have heard by teachers that time out should be only as long as a child is old. For example, a 2 year old has time out for 2 minutes, a 10 year old for 10 minutes, etc. Does a two year old really understand timeout? I'd love input on this one.

5. Spank with a hand: It seems like the first disciplinary action for new parents is slapping hands. We did it, chances are you have too. It didn't work for us. We'd slap the hand, B would cry, and he'd go right back to what he was doing. It didn't work. After that a lot of parents move on to spanking the bottom with their hands. (Think birthday spankings.) I bet that works for some kids too. When Bryton started climbing on top of the tv stand, very dangerous I may add, we started spanking his little behind when we'd get him down, first for being up there, and second for not obeying when we told him to get down. Guess what he did, yep, climbed back up. Ugh. We apparently have a persistent little daredevil. Sin nature at it's finest... at 16 months.

6. Spank with an item: And as bad as I hate to admit it, this is where we are now. I've seen lots of things used. I had a friend whose mom would use a fly swatter. Ow. My mom had her paddle ball paddle, minus the ball of course. We had friends who used a thin wooden spoon. Back in the old days schools had a paddle. Well, after countless climbs on top of the tv stand, mom was desperate, so off to my utensil drawer I went. I easily spent 5 minutes debating what I could 'go without' for awhile and smacking my thigh with countless objects to see what 'popped' but didn't 'hurt.' Out comes... the ladle. Yep, my flimsy plastic ladle. It makes a great popping noise, and stung only slightly on my thigh... very little on his diapered rump. Two times he climbed back on that tv stand, a few other tries where all I had to do was grab the ladle and tell him to get down, and we've broken it... at this point. I hate it with everything in my being, you know that, 'It hurts me more than it does you,' stuff that we always thought our parents were lying about? It's true. I don't think that pop hurts him hardly at all, but his little tears break my heart to pieces. :(

7. Don't Discipline, Reward: Not sure how I feel about this one. This is the 'don't discipline for the bad, reward for the good' mentality. The idea is that if kids are consistently rewarded for doing good they will continually do good. It's a great concept, but I'd love for my son to know that part of the reward for being good is being good itself. It's something that is expected, not something that warrants a reward. You be good to others regardless of the treatment you receive from them. This seems to circumstantial for me. Don't get me wrong, if I see he's done something really well, or has done something really nice, I'll praise him for using good judgment, but to reward just for doing something he's supposed to do, probably not. (This will come into play when an allowance is offered. Money will be given for above and beyond things... not for putting your toys away, cleaning your room, brushing your teeth, or putting your dishes in the dishwasher... those are all duties that don't warrant 'pay', because they are responsibilities of being a human being.)

8. Distraction: This is a big one for the baby stage. We used it a lot. Throwing a fit over one thing? Hey, check this out, see how fun it is? It's all about redirecting attention. I think this is a must use for babies!

9. The Silent Treatment (aka make 'em feel bad): Not sure how I feel about this. I know there is a "cool off" time period, but sometimes I questioned my mom's love when she wouldn't speak to me. It will be important for me to be able to talk things out with my kids, so they know why I'm upset, the effect of what they did, and how we can move on without it happening again, not the mention that fact that I still love them.

10. Disciplinary Duties: Again, I'd use this for older kids. Hmmm, can't consistently get home on time... you'll spend some time on home Saturday, mowing, weed-eating, and helping dad with that project in the garage. Be responsible or responsibilities will be added to your load to make you responsible.

So there you have it... Pen to the 10 on Discipline. Now, I would love some insight on what worked for you! Leave me some feedback!!!


  1. Oh discipline.....

    We have done many of the things your wrote including ignore it. However, ignore it is reserved for little annoying things that really don't matter and don't affect the character of the repeating things over and over just to get a reaction. We didn't use physical discipline of any sort until after age 2 with any of the kids after hearing that it just doesn't click on Focus on the Family. With D & E, we used a wooden spoon for spanking and we also used timeout before we would spank. With Cait we really only use timeout but are not opposed to spanking....we just haven't had to use it. I guess that since daycare uses timeout as their discipline, the consistency works for her. With D & E now (mainly E), we take away priviledges or make him do something as punishment...specifically take a nap most of the time. I do think you have to be flexible in what discipline you use for each child because each one will respond differently. For instance, if we would yell or speak firmly to Delainey we would get the reaction we want. If we do the same for Eli, he talks back and it is impossible for him to "hear" what we are trying to get across. You will understand this as you have more children :) You know I'm always willing to share what has worked and hasn't worked for us ;)

  2. good for you on the ladle. it might stink when he cries, but i think you're doing the right thing.

    ...granted, no matter what it was, it never, ever worked with my brother. it was like he lived to show no change from whatever it was they whacked his butt with. haha. so anyway, bryton's on the right track. ;) and i think you are too.

  3. Thanks Sarah! (and Shel!) any advice is great... and I'm glad you think I'm doing the right thing. We've not had to do the ladle since. He's responding to the word 'no', literally, for the first time in his life. It's helped a lot so far!