As my cubs are now 20 and 23 years of age, disciplinary methods are not really required anymore. Well, let me put it differently…there are times we parents think it is still necessary, but disciplining two adult men is quite a task. So us (mostly) mothers, resort to the tried and tested ”mother’s guilt” to emotionally manipulate our older children. But if that fails (and it rarely does), yep, you got it…..‘’as long as you live under my roof…..” rears it’s effective head!!
But truth be told, it rarely comes to that, as either your children have become accustomed to what you expect of them, or you realize that some things are just not worth digging your heels in for. Of course there is the third possibility, which sorry to tell you, your kids also do, which is embellish the truth a little (aka “lie”). Then you have no knowledge of the fact that they need to be disciplined, and everyone lives happily ever after!!
However in all the years of our children growing up, the question parents continuously struggle with, is what is the best method of disciplining our children?? Of course we all have those moments where we have used a particular method, and it actually worked. Oh wow! Then we pat ourselves on our backs, and feel like we have cracked the code!! We get so excited, convincing ourselves that going forward, we will absolutely cruise through this child rearing thing, and our lives will be forever trouble-free!!!
As quickly as we thought that, we realize that, actually, not every method works every time. Then of course, our next unfortunate discovery is that not every method works for every child. Nope…why would life be that easy?? Then the worst discovery of all is that sometimes nothing actually works, and the moment just needs to pass, and hopefully everyone is alive at the end of it. So essentially, each situation that calls for discipline requires us to go back to the drawing board. Oh….. the joys!!!
So to recap…..only those who have never had children, know the answers to disciplining the little pesky creatures.
Now as far as my two spices were concerned, the disciplinary methods couldn’t have been further apart. My older spice, Pepper, never really required discipline. Please do not get me wrong, he was not a joy as a cub. FAR FROM IT!!! Until he was at least ten years old, he moaned a lot…..continuously. He whined a lot……continuously. He was DREADFUL…to put it mildly. But he was just a tortured, troubled and frustrated little spice. He just needed to be doing something every waking hour (still does). He was very tiring and draining. But he was sensible and responsible and never did pointless things. You know those things that most children do, where you find yourself so confounded by something they did, that your facial expression is that of total bewilderment and perplexity!!!
If something can be broken, they will break it. If something can be messed, they will mess it. If something can be climbed up, set on fire, flooded…..you must be getting the general idea here?? Not my Pepper though…he did not waste any of his precious whining or moaning hours on such paltry behaviour.
In the very early years….you know…those first few years where, as much as we would NEVER admit it to anyone (let alone ourselves), that we have no cooking clue who our child is…how they think….what upsets them etc, etc, you just do the best you can to keep them fed, bathed and safe. So much remains a mystery. You are still trying to figure out any behaviour on their part by trying to equate it with either your or your spouse’s personality or behavioural traits. You have yet to comprehend that the fact that this little stranger came into your lives as a result of you and your spouse’s DNA, does not of necessity mean that he is not his own person.
It was during those years, that I would try and use one of many disciplinary or reward methods on my Pepper. It was only later, when I did actually learn (kinda) about whom my Pepper really was, and became more acquainted with his thought processes, that I realized why no disciplinary or reward methods had been successful. The reason for this, was that he was never ‘’naughty’’ per se…..thinks every mother about their child. But with regards to Pepper, this really was the case. The reason why Pepper always looked so totally befuddled and hurt when I tried any of the recommended forms of disciplinary methods on him, all fell into place at a much later stage.
If he did or did not do something, there was always a very understandable explanation for this (even if it only made sense in his very busy, whining and moaning thoughts). But this I only understood properly as I got to know him more. Now for those of you who have dropped that lower jaw of yours, horrified that truly understanding my child was a process, I say….close your mouths, and be totally honest with yourselves.
To be fair…had I spent more time trying to figure out why he had not wanted to do something, I might have been a little more tolerant…but hey….we are all human, and we are just not able to take that time at that stage!! And that my dear people, is why we are blessed with grandchildren…so we can right all the wrongs we committed with our children…..you know….20/20 hindsight and all. We are wiser, have more time and patience and that is our time to shine…to show whatever higher power decides where to send us for eternity, that we really did learn from our mistakes and we are not rotten apples!!!
Then came Salt….sigh….anyone tried disciplining a stubborn (and bless his heart, I do love him, but spiteful) child??? Whatever you threaten to take away, will never be acknowledged as a problem. Even if you took away his oxygen, he would make sure of one thing….you would never see the disappointment on his face. And to make matters worse….it did not solve the problem anyway. Or there was the dreaded “calling my bluff’’, my absolute worst of his reactions. Once said bluff was called (and it regularly was), you had to go through with whatever you threatened to do, even though you knew it will be the most pointless exercise ever, and he would still not do what was required!!
Salt was also not a ”naughty’’ (as in “ facial expression is that of total bewilderment and perplexity” naughty) child. But he would, for NO RYTHME OR REASON just refuse point blank to do certain things.
Only ONE method worked, and on BOTH children to boot. This, only because their mother (yep……that’s me) was one dense broad…DENSE I TELL YOU. This was the “Swear Jar”. Yes, that stage where your children learn to swear (from other people’s mothers….don’t judge), and it is still cute and funny. Of course, that is always needed to be nipped in the bud, and that was my genius solution.
“Anyone who swears from this day forth, shall put some of your pocket money in the swear jar”, I boldly declared one day. Sounds ingenious, doesn’t it? Well, I of course went one step further….’’After we have saved enough money, we can all decide what we will do with the money”, I continued.
It was only after we had bought a Playstation game from the money we had ‘’saved’, that one of Pepper’s pompous little snot nosed know it all friends, asked a very obvious question…..
‘’So you are rewarding your children for swearing?’’