Let’s talk disciplining your children.
Now, bare with me, because this isn’t going to be another preaching blog post telling you how to discipline your own children. Why is it that everyone feels that they can parent your own children better than you can? I feel that society is so hung up on disciplining children. They are concerned with how you do it, how often you do it, and so forth. If your son is screaming his head off in the grocery store checkout line, the main comments you get are always about discipline. Somebody, please tell me what the obsession is with discipline children?
Somehow we have turned into a society that demands that our kids be these perfect human beings who never make mistakes, who never have outbursts of any kind, and who grow up to be pristine, proper and perfect. Why are we setting such unrealistic goals for these kids? Do you have any idea how much pressure we are putting on them? As adults, we have bad days where we are yelling, hitting the steering wheel, telling lies etc, and on these bad days there is nobody behind us yelling, spanking, lecturing or telling us to be better. So why, then, do we expect so much more from our kids when we, ourselves, can’t even live up to those expectations on a daily basis?
If you replace the word “discipline” with “guiding,” it would make a lot more sense. After all, isn’t that what our main job as parents? I feel like using those words could automatically take some of the negativity and stress that we, as parents, feel when disciplining.
Let’s face it, nobody really wants to discipline their children. We want our children to not act like the crazy a******* that they sometimes are, but they do. In all honesty, sometimes they do need a little redirection, and when that time comes sometimes we, as parents, kinda freeze, or completely lose our shit.
Now that we switched up the term discipline to guidance/redirecting, let’s take a look at another component: when do kids need a little extra redirection? I am a firm believer that we just need to let kids be kids sometimes. Not every little thing they do needs to be readjusted or redirected. For example, is it really that necessary to scold them if they don’t say yes ma’am, or if they asked for something, but forgot to say the word please? I’m pretty sure we aren’t up on our A-game when it comes to our manners 24/7, we shouldn’t expect our kids to be either. As long as they asked for it in a nice way, and didn’t go grabbing or pushing, then I’m a happy mom.
So at what point do they need redirecting? That is a question for each individual parent to answer, but here are a few scenarios that I would redirect my children.
When is redirecting needed?
– Hitting/pushing/any form of physical aggression
-Persistently not listening (having to ask them to do something multiple times)
-Telling me no (mama needs to take deep breaths when I hear them tell me no)
-Screaming because they are mad
-Back talking to my face (at least they could be smart about it)
-Losing their shit because they are unable to regulate their emotions
Those are the just half of them in our house. Our main concerns are redirecting those behaviors that would cause them real problems in the real world or in school.
Now let’s rewind a minute. We have changed the dialogue of “discipline,” we brushed upon when it’s needed, (again think of behaviors that you would like to change in the house), now the next step would be to actually carry it out and how.
This is where society likes to butt in and put their unwanted 2 cents in. How you choose to redirect your child’s action is ultimately up to you the parent. If you choose to spank, then that is what you do. I personally don’t like to spank much, because for me it’s too easy to lose my cool, and, frankly, it just doesn’t work for our kids; it doesn’t change or stop the behavior we are trying to redirect.
No matter how you choose to redirect, you need to be consistent, and you need to make sure it actually works. Redirecting, much like everything else in parenthood, is a trial and error procedure. The main goal is to stop or change a behavior, and what works for one child may not work for another. Our children are all unique individuals, so it seems fair that how we redirect them, is unique to them. Once you find a process that works for an individual child, then be CONSISTENT. Before you actually go in a begin redirection, here are some tips that I use to make sure that my redirection isn’t going to backfire on me.
Tips to keep in mind before redirection
– Keep your cool. Try not to redirect when you are mad as hell, you want to redirect when you are stern, but calm.
– Make sure both parents are on board. Being a team is really important when it comes to redirecting your kids.
– Does the redirecting fit the crime?
-Does the child genuinely no that they did something “wrong?” Sometimes as adults we make mistakes that we didn’t really know where mistakes. Make sure it is clear to the child what the rules are.
-Be Patient There is no magic pill you can give your child. They will require redirection and guidance throughout their entire life. We just have to be patient with them.
If your head is in the right place, then there is nothing left to do, except to actually go through with the redirection or guidance. Like I said before, this is a trial an error procedure. You need to really know your kids, and what would be the best way to redirect them. If spanking works for them, and it stops the behavior, then by all means do it, just make sure the child knows why it’s happening, and then be consistent.
These are a few different ways that I redirect my children.
Ways to redirect
-Remove a favorite toy (dinosaurs/barbies) for every offense. They don’t get the toy back till next morning.
-Loss of favorite activity (cheer/cub scouts) I use this for persistence of behavior no matter what I’ve done
-Long periods of being stuck in their room to cool down, 5+ minutes.
-Smack them on hand if they continue to hit (I do this one as a last resort, if they continue to hit etc. Just enough to where they don’t like it)
Ways to redirect emotional outbursts
Two of my kids are on the spectrum, and often times have a hard time expressing their emotions, whether it be angry or excited, so it turns into emotional and aggressive outbursts that need immediate redirecting for their safety and others.
–Weighted blanket and total body secured in my arms The pressure often helps to calm them down
-Removal from stimulus: Headphones, sleeping mask, sitting by open window.
-Deep yoga breaths
-Exercise, dancing, trampoline, all great ways to help redirect that hyper activity
-Textured toy. Having something that is tactile can help them calm down as they play with it
-The presence of a favorite toy or picture. Once I get them calmed down, I redirect the situation by getting their mind off of what happened.
No matter what way you redirect your children, you need to be consistent, calm, and patient. Above anything else, though, there needs to be a reward system in place. You can redirect or punish all you want, but if you don’t reward them for those behaviors that are desirable, they won’t learn. They need to know that what they are doing is great, and that you are so proud of them. These positive reinforcements can be verbal phrases like “way to go,” “good job,” or “I’m so proud of you.” They can also be things like a sticker chart, a trip to the dollar store, or a special treat. Anything to let them know that these are the behaviors they need to keep doing.
So there you have it, hopefully you have a new look and feel for “disciplining.”
At the end of the day, just remember that they are a miniature you, and no matter what they do, they will always be your babies. Embrace the good days with the bad days, cherish every moment, have fun, and above all, live your HoTmEsS life the way YOU want to!!