The Pangs of Discipline: Single Parent Rules
This week I spent some time talking with friends about disciplining children and following through with punishments when kids fail to do what is asked or required. When I look at two parent households, I see parents that are able to sound off on each other about what is or is not working with regards to discipline, and they are also able to rely on each other in order to deal with the aftermath of a punishment (attitudes, outbursts, anger, and hostility).
In a two parent household, parents have a variety of options. They can strategize a plan like making one parent a buffer while the other parent is an enforcer (good cop/bad cop), or one parent is an enforcer and the other parent is an encourager. The choices are lengthy, and therefore, a child has alternatives even during difficult times.
In my house, there is no second chair. My rules are law and my punishments are definite (no schmoozing out of it). Does this make me evil, mean, cold-hearted, and ruthless? Based on statements made by my child after I have brought down the gavel, yes!
For my child, there is Mom, Mother, Momma, and Ma. Those are his options. I do my best to take a second look at everything (checking to see if I’m being unreasonable), and depending on the aforementioned aftermath of a punishment, I sometimes shorten the duration of a punishment (if things don’t get out of control). On the other hand, if things become too heated, I wait until it has died down and I try to discuss the reasons behind my decisions (usually a day or two later). Does it ever make sense to my son? Sometimes I think it does (well, he says it does), and I really hope that’s true.
The bottom line is, I believe it’s harder for my child to accept the lessons that are being taught through discipline and punishments because there is little to no leeway, and that can be challenging for a child. When I snap (and I do snap at times), I feel as though I have done an injustice to my child. I wish that I could be calm and reasonable at all times. I wish that I could foresee the future and know that my son is growing and learning in a positive way. My disciplining methods are totally different from the way that I was raised. I grew up in the “belt” era, and I remember countless “whoopins” topped off with 2 or 3 month punishments (as if the whoopin wasn’t enough agony). So, every time I punish my child I remind myself that I want him to learn not hurt. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Peace and blessings.