I Hate Having To Discipline My Child
I’m no power-hungry mom. While I realize that I enjoy a lot of power and control in my home, I don’t always love to be the parent who makes all the decisions for our family and the kids.
But one thing I’m not really skilled at is disciplining my daughter. My daughter is so strong-willed, and disciplining her isn’t easy.
I remember the first time she showed me how strong-willed she was.
She was only two months old. I was at home, still getting used to this new phase. I wanted to be the best mom possible, so I spent time pouring over tons of parenting books. And the more I read, the reality was that all signs pointed to putting my child on a schedule. I figured that these experts were right, and demand feeding my child every 90 minutes or so was bad, so I did my best to comply. I tried what the authors said verbatim. And the result? My spirited infant was irate. She knew exactly what worked for her, and she let us know loud and clear what she wanted. As soon as we reverted to the old rhythm that worked for her, everything was fine again.
She’d arch her back at four months when I put her in her crib without warning.
At about one year old, she cried her eyes out when I didn’t let her eat soap. One time, she cried because I wouldn’t let her go outside without her jacket when it was so cold. And on hot sunny days, she wants to wear her very creative clothing combination like gumboots and tons of dress-up jewelry.
Since then, there have always been countless episodes like this.
There’s this one time when I was rushing to prepare dinner one night when I heard her start to toss her toys at the TV in the living room. I’d told her so many times before not to do it because it was wrong. From the kitchen, I told her, “Don’t toss your toys at the TV.” As just as soon as I’d warned her, she responded by saying, “okay, mommy.” One minute later and she got right back to it. Do you know what I did? Absolutely nothing. I honestly had no energy left in me for a fight, so I ignored what she was doing, focused on getting food on the table, and prayed that my daughter wouldn’t smash anything. It was a bad tactic because I may have avoided a conflict in the short run by wimping out, but I was only setting myself up for others.
It hit me that this wasn’t the first time I let my daughter have her way. I’d done it a couple of times before, even when I knew that this was wrong.
It was then that I realized that if I were continually a pushover, there would be no incentive for my daughter to comply. So, my child would listen to me less and less, and her misconduct would worsen. And I sure as hell wasn’t about to raise a spoilt brat.
I have such a soft spot for my little kiddo (so does every parent) that I get worried at the mere thought of disciplining her. And even when I do, my daughter gets into anguished paroxysms of grief, and she becomes inconsolable, making it even worse. But even though I feel guilty, there’s no way I’ll let my child get away with bad behavior.
Yes, society has changed a whole lot since I was a small child. Physical punishment was all the rage back then. However, today it can get you sued and by your own kids. And even with other forms of punishment, I still find it hard to discipline my child.
To not feel so “bad” about disciplining my child, I’ve had to make peace with the fact that I have to do it and learned a few tricks here and there.
First, I’ve created several rules that I feel strongly about and am comfortable enforcing, such as brushing after breakfast, not tossing stuff at the TV, and switching off gadgets half an hour before bedtime. I’ve made it clear to my daughter why they’re important and the consequences if she doesn’t comply. While it was initially challenging to get used, I stood my ground, and my daughter is now used to it.
Also, when my daughter starts to cry when I discipline her, I stay calm and remind myself that I’m doing it for her own good. And finally, I’ve implemented the three-strikes rule. When she does something she isn’t supposed to, I tell her, “Please stop doing that.” When she for it again, I tell her that’s strike 1. If she starts to protest, I tell her that’s strike 2. If she makes it to three, she gets an automatic time-out. While these have been hard to implement, I’m getting the hang of disciplining my child. Yes, it isn’t easy, but I have fewer battles with her, and I have more opportunities to truly enjoy being with her.
Editor’s Note: This is a personal essay and it’s the sole experience and beliefs of the writer. It does not represent Babygaga’s views.
Children this age are experiencing many developmental changes, making them act this way, and it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with them or you.
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