5 Discipline Rules For PARENTS

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We so often talk about the effects of discipline on OUR CHILD, but for me personally, I wish someone had shared with me these 5 Discipline Rules For Parents.  Because discipline, and its effects, are not exclusionary to just your children. 

Today, my dear friend Hillary is sharing the FIVE DISCIPLINE RULES for PARENTS...
I refer to it as the “pop heard round the world.”  

At least, that’s how it’s felt to me all these years.  And nearly 5 years later, that pop I gave to my daughter’s tush, still wet from the bathtub, echoes in my ears…as an ugly reminder of just one of the many lessons I’ve learned about discipline since having children.

I can still see my handprint on her little body.  I can still feel my heart beating so fast.  I can imagine the anger and frustration I felt…at first toward her and then immediately toward myself.

I remember before I had kids, you know… those times when you think you know EVERYTHING about being a good mom … well, I remember thinking how my children would listen and respect me WITHOUT discipline because I would instill those character traits in them.

As I said… it was BEFORE I became a mom when I was naive enough to believe that:

I wouldn’t have to learn about the best consequences for kids. There would be no need for a reward system for kids. We certainly wouldn’t need to worry about yelling at the kids or giving time-outs because discipline would be a moot point.

Enter actual children into the picture, and all those pipe dreams went down the drain.

5 Things To Know Before Disciplining Your Child 

I like to think in the actual role of being a mom, I have learned a lot about myself while learning to discipline my children. Yes, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work in our family, but at the heart of it, I’ve learned what works for ME.  
And – I’ve learned that the thing that makes me feel like a good mom is doing the inevitable of raising kids.

1. DON’T LET ANGER BE YOUR GUIDE

That little example earlier about me popping my daughter…well, it was a VERY revealing moment for me that night.  I learned that when I am angry, I should walk away.  Not because I worry that am going to lose control and hurt my children… but because NO GOOD CHOICES CAN BE MADE WHEN YOU ARE ANGRY.

You are the parent.  If you aren’t cool and calm, then no one will be.  That little pop many years ago was our first and last “spanking.”   I found that if I was resorting to physical discipline, I was simply angry. I was letting my anger guide me, and it can never lead anywhere good.

That wasn’t going to work in our house.

2. DON’T BACK DOWN

You had better think long and hard before you throw out any ultimatums… because you need to stand by what you said.  My husband is notorious for saying something absurd like, “If you don’t get along with your sister, we are not going on vacation next week.”

What the what?!

That is TOTALLY not happening.  So now what will we do IF the girls don’t get along? Skip vacation? I don’t think so.

Stand by your words.  If I say “you will lose all electronics for a week,” then by golly, you are losing electronics for a week!

3. TAKE A MOMENT TO GATHER YOUR THOUGHTS

Remember when I said that anger couldn’t be your guide?  Well, I still get angry sometimes- we all do.  And anger clouds my ability to think up rational punishments.  

So sometimes…a lot of times actually…this is what I tell my girls:

“I am so frustrated right now.  There will be a punishment for what just happened, but I need a few moments to think about what it will be.  I will let you know as soon as I decide.”

Now I am free to think up a reasonable punishment that is proportional to the “crime.”  

4. NOT EVERYTHING REQUIRES “DISCIPLINE.”

In the beginning of being a mom, I had these ridiculous notions about my well-behaved children.  The ones that made me believe that my children would be quiet when they were supposed to, immediately do what I asked when I asked it, always say please and thank you without needing to be reminded, and never argue with their friends or siblings.

But that is not real life.  Nor should it be, to be quite honest.  

Childhood is “coloring outside the lines.”  And for good reason – Childhood is NOT about being perfect.  

It is about talking when you’re not supposed to.  Giggling for no good reason.  Taking toys from someone and seeing how your actions can impact someone else.  

It’s about being silly and loud and learning when those things are ok…and when they aren’t. 

I’ve had to learn to resist the urge to “stop” all behavior that doesn’t look “mature.”  My young children aren’t mature. They are CHILDREN!  
So yes, in church, they need to be quiet and respectful. But at home?  It’s okay to go insane and sing as loud as you can and even scream a little.  

5. BE READY FOR HOW CRAPPY DISCIPLINE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL

I never cease to be amazed at how crappy disciplining my girls makes ME feel.  It’s an odd mix of guilt that I have to do it and guilt that I may have let my girls down.  Which I know is crazy because it’s our job to be there for them while also teaching them right from wrong and showing them that there are consequences.  

But there has not been a single time-out or privilege lost that I have not felt a lump in my throat. As they say, “You are only as happy as your most unhappy child.”

Which I think is good – it means I’m doing what’s right even when it’s hard.  

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