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Monday, March 7, 2011

Parenthood is for the Birds...

Today I am going to touch on a subject that seems to be ruling my world lately...discipline.  Anyone out there with a 1-18 year old know what I am talking about??  Each day begins with my mind racing on how to come up with a consequence, threat, punishment that will actually make an impact.  And when I say my day starts with this thought I mean literally starts with this thought.  Our sleep routines go a little something like this:

8:00pm: Put Oliver to bed.  Set his alarm and tell him to not come downstairs until the music comes on.  Reiterate this point at least 7 times to make sure he understands.

8:00-9:00pm:  Tell Oliver to get back in his bed numerous times, tell him to quit talking to us from his bed, tell him to quit playing in his room, etc.

2:00am-7:00am:  At any point during this time frame Oliver may pay us a visit.  He just pops in, ALWAYS to Daddy's side of the bed, to share his latest thought or ask a question like it is the middle of the day.  Some of his most recent reasons for being in our room have been:
"Where is Bailey?" (our dog...that always sleeps right by the bed, the side on which he is standing asking this)
"My tv won't work"  (because every kid watches some toons at 2:00am right??)
"Daddy, I went to a movie."
"I'm hungry"
"When is my music going to play?"

Or my personal favorite is when he just stands there and smiles until you feel someone staring at you.
Rarely does he wait for the music to come on and when he does he comes into our room and announces really loudly and really close to our faces, "MY MUSIC IS ON!"  Nothing like being startled awake!!
So, I wake up most days thinking how will I find a safe way to lock him in his room help him understand that he needs to follow the rules.  I have already tried time outs, spankings (yes we believe in them), and taking away toys and tv (yes, we believe in tv too) but all to no avail.  And part of the problem with these consequences is that I am the only one really enforcing them.  My husband doesn't mind being woken up and often gives me the guilt trip of that he likes being woken up by him because he feels like he gets to see him so little.  I am all for father-son bonding so I suggest he goes up and gets my son if he is up before the music comes on.  So far I can't get either to play by these rules.  

My husband just doesn't get it that not following the rules doesn't end with him waking us up.  He carries it on throughout the day including when he is at school.  Now don't get me wrong, my son is a great kid and I love that he is funny, outgoing, and smart.  What I don't love is that he has absolutely no fear of authority.  He gets so caught up in having fun that he just disregards the rules or an adult telling him over and over to stop.  We constantly teach him manners and the importance of respecting adults but when that little boy energy kicks in all of that goes by the wayside.  Everyday when I pick him up from school I cringed as I ask how his day was.  I make a point to ask it in front of his teachers so that they can verify his answer and I cross every finger and toe I have.  Some days were great but others the teacher forces a smile and says something like, "Well we were a little wild today" or "We had to sit at the lonely table during lunch" or "We tried really hard today and we just couldn't listen."  And if you are confused by the "we" what she means is he...my son!  

I usually throw out a punishment on the way home out of frustration and these are usually terrible.  Not because they are so mean but because they are so unrealistic.  Telling him he can't watch tv for three days is like telling myself I can't shower or make a phone call in peace for the next three days.  Or when I say he can't have a treat after dinner.  How the heck will I get him to eat dinner without the bribe of a treat?!  So, I go to my husband for back-up and although he always has a good, level-headed suggestion he can't seem to follow through on it with me hence the cycle continues.

Right now parenting is kicking my you-know-what.  The worst part is that I used to teach kindergarten.  I had 20 five-year-olds listening and learning and obeying the rules.  Now I can't get my own 4- and 1-year olds to listen to squat.  And, I have tried to bring some of the methods I used in the classroom to our home but they haven't panned out either.  I made a behavioral chart one day and it ended up with so many columns that my husband had a hard time understanding how to use it.  (*Note: don't make a behavior/consequences chart right after finding that your son drew all over the dining room table).  

All I need is a method in which to teach my kids how to find the balance between having fun and being too wild.  Expressing themselves and being respectful.  Thinking independently and obeying the rules.  And I need this method to be easy, convenient, and not time-consuming.  Oh, and if this method could create well-behaved kids in under 2 days that would be a plus too.  Parenthood is fun when you take the parenting out of it.  Or maybe I would have a better handle on this mothering thing if I didn't have to maintain a home and my appearance as well.  And for those of you who are wondering if I am complaining about thses gifts from God and the fact that I get to stay home, the answer is yes.  No, I don't want to work full-time outside of the home and no I would not trade my kids for anything in the world but I need a day here and there (i.e. at least once a week) to let the world know: PARENTHOOD IS FOR THE BIRDS!!


  1. Beth, I feel your pain! I struggle with disciplining our boys too... I know that consistency is the key, but it can be hard to get Ed and I on the same page sometimes! I think that the 123 Magic book has helped in our household some (although it's definitely most effective when it's followed to a T, which can be hard to remember or be consistent with!). Oh and also, my sister recommended the Good Night Light-- it's a nightlight that has a sun and a moon, and you program it for what time it changes to light up the moon at night and the sun in the morning-- it has completely trained my nephew to stay in his room at night until the sun lights up, so I am going to purchase one for Vincent ASAP! Just a couple of thoughts, but I don't have any magic solutions. If you hear of any, please let me know!! :)

  2. I have yet to get try out the books however i am praying fervently they will work--anything by John Rosemond. He is a psychologist in Gastonia who speaks ofetn for CMC and has a national newspaper column and our peditricians office exam rooms are plastered with his articles. He has a very traditional (think 1950's) approach to discipline that is very common sense really and many of us parents have probably experienced parts of it ourselves. It takes alot of the reasoning, pleading, begging, and bribing out of parenting. Thus helping to put the outcomes more in the kids corner if parents are willing to stick to it. Like i said, my son is only 16 mos so I have yet to get into the down and dirty (it really starts more for the 2-3 yr old and up group. They must have a better cognitive base than we are at right now. Just a thought! Hope you find your magic bullet and if you do PLEASE SHARE:) -mom to a very energetic independant BOY

  3. ps- WOW i really needed to proofread!

  4. Sorry girls I just saw these comments (I hate that it doesn't alert me somehow to comments but anyways). Stacy I have heard about 123 and I really need to try it. And Knittin' Momma I have actually gone to see John Rosemond speak and he is great. It so hard not to get caught up in the little details of everyday and just remember to use common sense and consistency!!


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