Friday, January 15, 2010

Priorities in Discipline

So I've reached that point where I feel like I am getting onto Jakob ALL THE TIME.

You know, in the past, it has always seemed like a cycle.

Stay 'on top' of the kids, they behave.
They behave so you back off a little bit.
They start to 'misbehave'. So you reign them back in.


And what I am beginning to figure out is this:

There are certain things that you want kids to obey no matter what. And I know the list is different for different families. But not EVERYTHING can be nonnegotiable, I mean how successful can your child (or anyone) feel with that rule.

I know without even thinking about it that the command (request) "Come here." is nonnegotiable. If I say, "Come here." Jakob better come, or there will be consequences.

But what I having a hard time with is this:

Sometimes, I tell him, "No." And then I realize that it's actually OK for him to do that. So do I make him obey, because if I don't then he'll learn that he doesn't have to obey me?

But where is the line.....when is there a consequence, and when is there NOT a consequence?

For instance, we are having a hard time with Jakob reaching up onto the kitchen cabinet and just 'feeling' for things. He has almost gotten really hurt doing this a couple of times. (Can you say hot stove top?)

We have come down really hard on him for this now.

But sometimes it IS okay for him to reach up there. If he sees his cup or paci, for example. So do I make an arbitrary rule that it's not ever ok to reach up there just because sometimes it's not safe?

And if I tell him No and not to do something and then he does it, is it an automatic consequence?

I have quite a bit of experience with kids, and up until now, my philosophy has always been, "If I say it, then you better do it. Period." And I realize, that puts the pressure on me to watch what I tell/ask them to do, and also to follow through when it doesn't get done. My reason for this is that they may be put into a situation (car coming when they're playing in the street) when I only have time to say it once, and they better obey or the natural consequences will be horrible.

But where does grace come into all of this? They say children learn what they live, and I want my kids to be full of grace and compassion for others, but how do we show grace, and still raise obedient children?

And what things are on your 'no matter what' list?

And any other insights you might want to throw out there would be great, too.

1 comment:

Mindy said...

It's so funny that you just posted this because I've been starting to realize the same thing. I agree with you that "come here" is non-negotiable because of a car or any other unforeseeable danger. My problem has been with the trash can. Vivi likes to push the top open and close and sometimes reach her hand in and pull something out. Sometimes I really get onto her because she pulls out a dog or cat food container or something that could have harmful bacteria. Other times she's just playing with out and I wonder if it's worth getting onto her and her being upset.
It really is hard because you are right, we learn what we experience and I don't want her having any of the bad childhood experiences I had (lack of parenting advice back then).
Anyways, thanks for sharing! Glad to know I'm not alone in this!!