I really need all you Moms opinions here! This is a rather touchy subject but one which I need to raise to get a feel for how we’re doing. Its also a subject that seems to change, you have an idea of how you’d raise and discipline a child before they come along and then suddenly you are a parent with a child and everything you thought previously about parenting changes! I want to talk about discipline!
So here is some back ground. Ava is proving to be exactly as we suspected, a very strong-willed, determined & stubborn child. She is no push over. She knows what she wants when she wants it. And I happen to like these qualities, actually, that description pretty much describes me to a T. Of course I’m making her sound dreadful, but that is only the one side of her personality I’ve described there. I’ve neglected to include that she’s sensitive and very affectionate, has a passion for books & music and is really quite intelligent. But I’m wondering which is the best way to discipline such a strong-willed child.
Now that she is well and truly a toddler with a fully developed personality, we’re seeing more and more of the strong-willed/determined side of her and it’s not always fun to deal with. I grew up in a home where sparing the rod and spoiling the child was a child rearing philosophy. I think a lot of us from the ’70’s were raised this way. Now I’m most certainly not saying I was beaten or abused as a child. But I was given hidings, when I was naughty and they were deserved. I was smacked with a wooden spoon and when I got older, my Mom had this small leather belt and she’d send me to my room and I knew what was coming. Not that I was thrashed to within an inch of my life, but I was given a few whacks with the belt. It didn’t psychologically scar me or damage me in any way.
Having said that, we are living in different times and for me personally, while I won’t say I will never spank my child, both Walter and I are of the opinion that while spanking has its place with in the realm of discipline, it is not something we want to be doing. We both feel that the “spare the rod & spoil the child” is open to different interpretations and doesn’t have to be taken so literally, we both believe that as long as there is discipline, it does not necessarily have to mean spanking. There is nothing I find more off-putting than spending time with people who are spanking their children every 5 minutes, or spending time with people who’s children have no discipline and they run wild, there is a balance which one needs to find. Spanking is not what we want to do and it’s not how we want to be with Ava.
My mother, who adores Ava-Grace more than life itself, keeps telling me we need to spank the stubborn streak out of her and I’m feeling conflicted because while I don’t necessarily like the behavior that goes with that stubborn streak, I definitely don’t want to be spanking her. Aside from my own feelings on that, given that it’s a new millennium, I would think that would be frowned upon? Right?
So how do you discipline your children?
Currently, I have found the most effective way of dealing with the tantrums is to simply ignore her and carry on with whatever I’m doing, whether she likes it or not. She needs to learn that in life, she will not always get what she wants when she wants it. Take this morning for example, she wanted to sit at her table and continue to read her books and I needed to get her dressed for the day as I needed to get ready for work. Well, when I closed the book and lifted her out of the chair, you’d swear the world had come to an end. The back arching, the crocodile tears, the shouting her displeasure. I have tried the distraction tactic by offering her something else, but when she’s in the throes of one of these episodes, if you don’t give her what she wants, which in this case was to be put back at her table with her book, she will simply smack whatever it is you’re trying to offer her out of your hands. So I continued to dress her and brush her teeth, even cutting her toe nails – yes yes a bit ambitious I know – while she was in the throes of a back arching, screaming fit. Because lets face it, there are things we all have to do in life that sometimes we don’t feel like doing but they just have to be done, and Ava, like all of us, just has to learn that.
My Mom’s opinion is that I should have given her a swat on the backside but I know from pervious attempts that all this does is serve to affront her sensibilities and enrage her even further. And again, I don’t want to be swatting my child’s behind every time she has a tantrum, I mean after all, she’s 14 months old, I reckon there are going to be PLENTY of these episodes within the next 2 years.
We just want to raise a well-behaved, well-mannered & well balanced child and I feel strongly that this can be achieved without a good walloping every day.