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.)