Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's Called Discipline For A Reason

I realize that I am treading on thin ice -- even in this Mississippi heat -- when I dare to talk about a subject as touchy as parenting, but this really gets to me.

Over the past couple of weeks we have been in various public settings where a parent was trying to get a child to quit doing something. Parent tells child, "Child, come over here." "Child, quit doing that." "Child, you are not supposed to be doing that." All children who are being addressed are old enough to follow directions, but all children automatically do the reverse of what they are being told.

My boys reaction? Shock. Why? Because they know that if they were told to "come here", "quit" or "stop" and they deliberately defied us, there would be consequences.

Instead, the parents in each of these separate circumstances thought it was cute and even in some cases laughed! It became a game in which I had to listen to the parent say, "Come here, Susie!" over and over for about 20 times. One parent even had the nerve to look over and say, "Sometimes it is just not worth it."

O.K. so it isn't fun and it really isn't easy, but discipline is also not a game. You are teaching your child to obey you. Not because you are the dictator, but because you are the parent. Because you know the boundaries that are best for them. Because there is going to come a time when their "first time obedience" can mean the difference between their safety or not.

I still remember the time when my Big Guy was distraught because a friend was leaving our house and decided he wanted to go with her so he wanted to chase her. He was running out to the street -- a busy four lane street. I yelled, "Stop!" He stopped. Is it because we are amazing parents? No (far, far from it!!). It is simply because we had been teaching him over and over and over. He knew that we weren't playing games. Our words meant something.

Discipline isn't mean. It molds your children into responsible, respectful adults. I wish more parents would use it.

(Stepping down from my soap box now.)

12 comments:

Felicia said...

I completely agree with you.Nothing bothers me more than parents repeating themselves in situations like that.

A. Boyd C. said...

They sell remote-controlled shock collars at Petsmart. I'm not condoning their use on children. I'm just saying that's where they sell them....

Technically, I don't suppose it has to be actually YOUR child for it to work so long as the real parent, nor the child knows how take the collar off...

Which comes to my second point, you can get PADLOCKS at Lowes, which is in the same mall as Petsmart...

Deanna Germany said...

Don't tempt, Boyd!! Ha!

Felicia said...

Boyd that's funny!

lottery said...

Yuts, daw palagpat imo blog.

Stacey said...

I saw the same thing the other day at the ENT's office with Ace. Some lady was there with her kid who looked to be about 3 or so, and kept telling him "Come sit down. Come sit down. COME SIT DOWN." After each weak threat, she'd go back to filing her nails and he'd go right back to what he was doing. Finally he almost broke something and she said "Come sit down! Why don't you listen to me?" BECAUSE HE DOESN'T HAVE TO!

I agree that sometimes it's not worth it - i.e. pick your battles. If you're constantly saying no, don't do that, don't touch that, come here, do this, do that... your voice becomes white noise.

(Says the haughty, know-it-all mother of a 2-year-old.)

Sensational Image Consulting said...

Child #2 finds it difficult to listen and do as told. Maybe it's the terrible twos who knows. I do know I am forever working on it. Child #1 is molded quite nicely. I think it happens so much because people are afraid to discipline for numerous reasons.

Supermom said...

100% agree. And this is why I don't really like being around children.

Why should I tolerate your misbehaving child?

(*and I don't mean 'your' as in YOUR child, deanna, lol)

Minnesota Matron said...

Great post. Discipline comes from disciple, which is all about learning, tradition, following an order. It's a beautiful word and practice, in all regards.

Roz said...

Oh and I love to hear a mother say "Well I don't have to spank her I can just look at her and she cries" yeah right!! and the woman who said this has one of the brattiest self-centered, sassy, disobidient children I have ever seen.

Miss Mud Puddle said...

I am all for public discipline.

When I was growing up, we learned more from being disciplined in front of others...seriously. It worked!

Emily Shaw said...

Thank you for that! My sister and I have opposite feelings about discipline and I'm right in line with yours! Unfortunately, my sister's children are going to have a rough life when they get older (the oldest being 10). I can just imagine them at work and being told something, but because of their upbringing they won't assume there will be consequences if they don't follow through. My sister would get 'fed up' with the way her kids were acting, send them to their room and the kids would be in the pantry or one even went to his friend's house...there's no 'discipline' in that household at all! Thank you for stating it the way that you did. I especially like the "not a dictator, but a parent" line. It really hits home (to me at least!)