Saturday, August 30, 2008

PBBC 7: Disciplining Our Children

PPBC 7: How do you discipline your kids?

I am just a neophyte in the art of parenting. My son is only turning 11 months old. That isn't to say that discipline is not yet an issue for us because it is. However, it's not yet time really for us to be practicing on our child because we're still in the process of disciplining each other and ourselves.

Yes, we will discipline our kids by disciplining ourselves.

Hubs and I came from different backgrounds and family dynamics. We react to conflicts and crises differently. I tend to make a mountain of a molehill, he tends to go in denial. We're still discussing, agreeing, testing and researching on a middle ground, so we can say that we raised our kids with thoughtfulness and leadership instead of just plain love.

Discipline is a tricky thing. It's not something that exists in a vacuum, because it is affected and impacts a great many things. It's not a closed captioning thing, where only the curious child will read more into our actions and motivations. It's not something that happens, it's not something we do, it's something that is. Have we, as parents, set goals for our family? Is it clear for us what values we hope to inculcate in our children? Are we examples of the kind of people we want our children to become?

Disciplining a child has less to do with how you reinforce good behavior, or punish the bad. It has more to do with a parents' leadership, how they exercise their authority and maximize their influence.

Parents who aren't disciplined won't be able to discipline effectively. So my hubs and I, we're still really struggling to be the people we want our kids to learn from and be like. It's not easy. It requires commitment and vigilance. It requires courage and consistency. It requires transparency and grace. It requires wisdom from experience.

If I raise my child eating only healthy things, while I myself binge on junk food, I still won't be able to say that I disciplined my child well. The most I can say is, I have misled him right, but I misled him just the same. We just simply cannot give what we don't have.


I can't ever say that I am pro- or anti- spanking. I believe that it's a tool parents can use to discipline ther kids, yes. I can't ever say it is not abused, but I also won't ever say that parents who spank their kids are abusive and that kids who have been spanked are victims of abuse.

But I believe there is a 'right' way to spank, and that it works for some and in others, not. Same way that timeouts don't work for everyone or at any age.

I also believe that if spanking will be used, its best served to younger kids who still lack the experience and capacity to understand. Physical pain is something they can easily register and process. Appealing to reason is best done with bigger kids.

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