The Difficulty of Discipline.
So Jonah's usually a really good kid. He doesn't test his limits too much, he asks permission before he takes things or eats things, he doesn't scream or yell or demand things. He's definitely not the perfect kid (does such a thing exist?), but he's not a brat. But lately he's been hanging around other kids a lot more, which is a good thing, but he's picked up a few new tricks. He lied to me the first time last week. I could tell he was just testing it out, to see how it would go, and he immediately told me the truth once he saw the look on my face, but I felt like we lost something. We had a little talk about honesty afterwords, but I'm really sad that he's learned the thing that every child learns : how to lie to get out of trouble. And then one day he was being especially whiny and he'd been really sick, so I was trying to be patient and understanding. I got down in front of him, eye to eye, and told him that he needed to stop what he was doing to come in and eat with us, but he didn't want to. So he screamed this throat scratching scream and said, "STOP TALKING!!!!" and threw his fist back to hit me, changed his mind halfway through the swing, but it was too late and his knuckles still made contact with my cheek. I'm sorry. I don't care HOW sick a kid is, they don't get to hit mom. Ever. No tolerance. Let's duke this out, Mike Tyson. So we did. Hard core.
So now we're in this stage where he sees another kid do something and then he tries it and I'm all like, "Oh hecno." But it's so hard to discipline him because we're still trying to figure out what works. I feel like parenting a kid is this lifetime of trying to figure out how to discipline the kids. Zach and I 100% believe that a parent's job is to train their children. Not to be their best friend or adventure partner (although there are times for that). If we don't do our job in training our children to be honest, respectful, and self controlled, then we limit what they can do and be in life. If my child doesn't know how to behave in public or in other people's homes, think of how much that will affect where he can go, who he'll be friends with, what he will be able to do with his time. I don't want to be one of those moms that everyone dreads coming to the playground because her kids are terrible. I know those moms. I feel for them, but not enough to want to be around their kids.
If you haven't read the article, "I'm Done Making My Kid's Childhood Magical", go do it. Right now. It's so good. Cause the thing is, whether you want to admit it or not, our generation, the Millennials, are an ego centric, self centered generation. We just are. We've made our lives public and enjoy sharing the highlights on facebook and we fish for likes and feel validated when we get them. We post photos of the things we do with our children because somewhere deep (or maybe not so deep) inside we want other people to see how awesome we are and feel inferior. We want to better than everyone else. This is definitely affecting our parenting and it will affect our kids in a terrible way.
Your job is not to do crafts and activities with your kid. Sure, you should and you will and it will be amazing. But filling up your days with activities and making fun memories does not make one a good parent. The bestthing you can do for your kid is to teach them right from wrong. Do hard things. Discipline them. Take toys away, turn off the TV, ground them, make them so mad they cry. That's parenting. If all we ever do as parents is make our kids happy and make their childhood magical and give them what they want because we don't want them to be mad at us or hate us, then we're not doing it right. That's self centered parenting and if that's how we're all doing it, then we're raising a rotten generation. Kids need to know that there are consequences for actions and those consequences (in our house) do not involve just getting talked to and lectured.
Last night, Jonah refused to go to sleep. It was fine for the first 45 minutes. He just lay there saying he wasn't tired. He wasn't yelling or screaming so we just waited patiently for him to go to sleep. We all sleep in the same room and Emery was sleeping so as long as Jonah wasn't being loud and waking him up, no discipline was necessary. But then things got real. He got out of bed a couple times and the last time I put him back in bed, he freaked the hec out. Yelling, crying, screaming. I told him. I warned him. If you wake up the baby, things are gonna happen and you're not going to like those things. Emery started screaming and I yelled at Jonah and took his toy that he wanted to sleep with away. Cue more screaming. Doesn't matter, Emery's already awake, scream as much as you want.
But I was MAD. Flipping my lid mad. Zach and I wanted to go grab some food after they went to sleep and at that point, it was 9:30 and all hopes of getting some time alone were shot. So. Mama got angry. I yelled. Probably more than I should have. I went upstairs with the baby and came back down and Zach was sitting outside our room laughing. I asked him what was so funny and he wouldn't tell me at first, but then he told me that Jonah was laying in his bed saying, "Mommy broke my heart. Mommy broke my heart."
Maybe a year ago that would've made me cry. Maybe on a different night, that would've made me cry. But last night....last night, my response was, "Well GOOD. He's lucky that's the only thing I broke!" I did go in there after a few minutes and cuddle up with him and kiss him and sang to him and made sure he knew I loved him and wasn't mad at him (anymore) and today we're going to have a talk about not waking up the baby. But I don't care that he gets mad at me. I don't care that I hurt his feelings sometimes. It sucks. It's heart breaking and I hate hate hate hate doing it, but I have to. Wehave to. I won't coddle my children into being brats. They can get mad, they can cry, they can say I'm the worst mom ever and threaten to run away, and I have to be OK with that because this parenting thing isn't about me.I'm not going to protect my own feelings and parental validation and risk raising children that have no limits or self control and that don't understand consequences.
Discipline SUCKKKSSSSS. But for every "Mom broke my heart", I get about 100 "Mom you're the best ever!". Double that for kisses and hugs and play time and magical moments. Because those are the things that happen the most. The bratty, yell worthy moments are so few and far between in comparison to the wonderful ones. And that's what makes me so confident that we're doing something right. We have a no tolerance approach to bad behavior, so when it happens, and things get real, a certain young boy learns not to do that thing again. Which makes room for crafts and activities and giant slaying and bug catching. So don't feel like you're a terrible parent when you make tough decisions and do hard things to discipline your children. You're the opposite of that.
Every time you choose to discipline, you're choosing your children over yourself. You're doing something that will make them a better person and that will make the world a better place. It's not about how you discipline...just that you do it. Period. Raise awesome people. That is all.