About That Whole Discipline Thing…



“Oh me oh my oh, look at Miss Ohio
She’s a-running around with her rag-top down
She says I want to do right but not right now”

-Gillian Welch

If those three lines don’t sum up the life of a five-year old, I don’t know what does. I’m sure Welch had another character in mind when she penned those lyrics, but whoever she was thinking of, she was wrong. It’s always been about the kids.

As much as they know what they’re supposed to do, sometimes, they just don’t want to do it. And unfortunately for us adults, there’s not a helluva lot we can do to make them do right.

Sure, there’s punishment. Spanking, time-out, insert your most beloved discipline strategy here. But let’s be honest, none of that actually works.

Maybe it makes us feel a little better about ourselves. Doing something is better than doing nothing, right? I mean, that’s what happened to us when we were kids. And we turned out ok (except for the ones of us that didn’t).

There’s a few things we have to accept now that we’re running the house. First is that if we’re having to rely on punishment to get our kids to do right, we’ve already failed.

Second is that, just because our kids don’t always do right, doesn’t mean that we’ve failed as parents.

Third, we’ve got to realize that most of the stuff our kids do, they do because they’ve seen someone else do it before (yeah, most likely us).

Want the kids to do right? We’ve got to do right ourselves.

Kids aren’t doing right? Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Find yourself constantly threatening time-out or spankings? Step back and realize that you need to put a little more work in on the front-end of this deal.

Most important, try to remember that all of our little “Miss Ohio’s” deep down really do want to do what’s right. They want to please us and make us proud to be their parents.

So next time you’re at your wits end with them, step back and and try to keep the big picture in mind.

Punishment and discipline are definitely appropriate at various points throughout childhood. But it all starts with us and the example we live out before their little eyes every day.

35 thoughts on “About That Whole Discipline Thing…

  1. This is great advice. I know, as a mom, it can be frustrating at times when your children are acting up. But, showing out won’t help the situation. It will only show them a behavior that I have now made it seem like I condone, because I did it myself. It isn’t always easy, but taking a step back and being mindful and aware of the entire situation and making more rational moves and comments toward them will improve how you feel and how they act/respond. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, but they are also impressionable. What impression are we going to give them?

    1. Agreed. You know, success in parenting is largely based on one’s ability to remain more rational and mature than their child. We both know that’s easier said than done. Thanks so much for the input!!

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