Terms of Engagement: Drawing the War Plans

Buzz Lightyear lies wounded on the battlefield. Not too far from him, Optimus Prime lies fallen. Both, victims of a horrific act of violence. Two of the world’s strongest allies became innocent bystanders in a war that was never there’s. The time was 6:47 in the evening. Hell hour. The giants that stood above these iconic heroes, rained tears down on them, as if truly sorrowful for their actions, and for ending the run of the famous toys.

In hindsight, I guess the kids really did feel bad about throwing the toys, sending them to their makers. Or to the force flex trash bag. The war was exhausting on both sides. Ultimately, daddy won the the battle, but nobody won the war. Now we were all in a state of mourning. The kids mourning for their lost possessions, and I for my inability to keep the civil unrest in order, and prevent such atrocities. Then, with just a few words, my son looks at me, and puts it all in to perspective. He says:

I wish Mommy was here. She would bust your tail, Daddy!

He is probably right. She would.

What really intrigued me about him saying this was that it noted in my mind the fact that he knows, without a doubt, the differnce in our parenting styles and disciplining methods. And trust me, him and his sister are both good at exploiting these differences to get their way. They are master deceivers and workers of the system. They sit up late at night, exchanging and comparing notes through the gates at their doors. They are knowledgeable and well armed.

Okay, that was a bit dramatic. My kids spend more time yelling at each other to be quiet than they do plotting. They are sweet in their own ways and for the most part, decently behaved. Yet, as they get older and approach the ages of 5 and 3, they become more possessive over toys, over attention, and over each other. This generally leads to sibling rivalry, and at least once a day, the need to place a call to the Daddy Law Enforcement Agent, for immediate intervention and sentencing. Still, there is definitely the knowledge there that shows that my wife and I should perhaps hash out a war plan, and terms of engagement, when it comes to discipline in the house.

With the change in parental roles in our house, came a change in attitudes, routines, and habits. None of us were prepared for all of the changes, and all of the new stress that came along with it. This also included how to handle aggressive and undesirable behavior from the children. We knew that there would be some acting out, some of that “pushing the boundaries” jazz, and all that other junk, but we did not have any knowledge of how to decide if and how to intervene or administer punishment.

There are times when a time out, or being sent to the room, or the loss of a privilege or toy must happen. Sometimes there might just be the need for a light rap on the hand, or a firm holding of the hand, followed by short and definitive verbal response. Such as “I do not want to see that again” or “We don’t hit in this house”. Then there are times when a simple calling of the full name and the raised eyebrow will suffice. And of course, there are times when the behavior is pure instinct in reaction to the change, and it should be allowed under supervision and understanding. The gray area for us is in how we judge what category behavior falls under, and what the law of the house says should happen in response.

This isn’t the point of the post where I give out wonderfully thought out advice on how to avoid this problem. This is the point where I straight up tell you that I have no advice on this. In fact, this is the point where I turn to the DadRevolution community. I know we aren’t the only ones who disagree on discipline and different aspects of the parenting ¬†job. This is new territory for us, with new changes, new stresses, and new needs to hash out new plans.

So today I am asking you. How do you answer these questions?

  • Who lays down most of the domestic law in your home when it comes to children and discipline?
  • Do you struggle to maintain an even playing field between discipline styles in the home?
  • Are your kids experts at exploiting the difference in parenting and discipline styles?
  • Do you have set rules that were set in agreement between both parents? Share these?
Now it is your turn. Share your answers in the comments below!

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John Taylor

JohnTaylor is the proud dad to two wonderful kids: Little Man(5) and Little Girl(3), and also the honored husband to The Wifey who has been gracious enough to tolerate me for 8 years and counting. This adventure into dadhood started back in 2007. Since then, no turning back. I am along for the ride, and learning every moment of it.

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