It is not easy to discipline your own child. You can read as many books as you want but depending on the temperament of your child, not every discipline/punishment trick will work. Depending on the temperament of the child you have to be creative and try new things – one size definitely does not fit all.
In our family Diva-J is a good example of this. We have read many books on parenting a strong willed child and have tried many things, but not all techniques work with her. So we have had to go ‘off book’ per se and at times be creative with our techniques.
This creativity can sometimes cause conflict within the household. Not only within your relationship with your significant other, but in the family environment in general. It is not always easy to keep the peace when other power struggles are going on in the confines of the home.
In regards to disciplining a child, there are many thoughts on what is right and what is wrong on this. One of the most bi-polar discussions surrounds spanking of children. J-Mom and I have struggled with this as we grew up in families that did not pass out spanks/swats very often, but when we did get one, we knew that we were in trouble and that we should heed what was being said. As Diva-J has gotten older and more defiant (at times) we have had to struggle with the idea of using this technique as well to solidify a point. Now I know that there are many who have said that a child should never be hit, and I say, that is your choice. J-Mom and I have decided not to spank Diva-J, not because we do not think it will work (which it may or may not), but instead, for us, we feel that it is not teaching Diva-J anything long-term. For us, we see spanking as a short-term solution, and we have seen situations where children have said, “I just need to get my swat and then all will be better.” This to us does not show that things will change in the future so we are trying other alternatives to discipline Diva-J and down the road Diva-PJ.
Becoming a disciplinarian also brings its’ share of times when you wish you could just disappear. At some point you may end up hearing your child say things such as “I hate you” or “Go back to work” or “I don’t like you.” As a parent you don’t want to hear this, and if you are a Love and Logic parent, as Jim Fay says, you should simply say “Nice try, but I love you.” Again, not always the easiest of things to say in the heat of the moment, but again, you have to love being a parent in these situations.
Being able to change and not see yourself as a friend to your child but instead as a parent to your child. This is not easy but it is necessary as there have been numerous situations that I have been in where a parent wishes to be a friend to their child and this is at the sacrificing of overall respect for the parent. The child does not see these parents as authority figures, or as someone to respect and look up to or revere, instead they see them only as a buddy, pal or friend.
Now there are some parents who see no problems with this and I am not saying that they are wrong. I am only saying that from experience and from some of the children I have seen that have been raised this way, as the kids get older, some problems at times arise due to the lack of respect, sometimes it backfires.
Every parent really has to ultimately make the final decision on what works best with their own child. You may note I did not say children. I did not say children on purpose as there are many cases where two children are polar opposites on the behavior continuum. One may be, as someone in my office said yesterday, “a pistol”, while the other may be as mellow as mellow can be. So a parent’s job is never easy, and what worked with one child in regards to discipline may not even come close to working with a second child, thus is the crux of a parent’s existence.
Personally I have found it difficult to become a disciplinarian myself. I tend to be a person who likes peace instead of conflict int he situations around me. Because of this it would be great to simply be a friend to my children, but I also want them to respect me as a father. Eventually I do hope that they will see me as a fiend when they get older, this is my ultimate goal, but you have to work toward this through the entire lives of your children, it doesn’t just become reality.
Here’s a few links to some sites on this that may help!