Discipline Dilemma: When Kids Refuse To Listen and To Obey

Several weeks ago, my playful little boy almost got run over by a car when he ran out of the school gates and into the street.  I can’t remember how many times he has gotten himself into trouble for doing something so rash.  This though was the most serious of all and could have been fatal had the driver not been alert.  Until now, the image of my little Jakei smiling so innocently at me standing in the middle of the street while a car was driving down the road is etched in my mind. He was oblivious to the harm that was about to befall him; I was utterly devastated watching what was about to happen to him.  It seemed like something out of a horror movie with me running and shouting for my son to come back to me.  I shall forever be grateful to the Lord for protecting my little boy that day.

Naturally, I lay the blame on myself for not having been fast enough to outrun him; for not being authoritative enough to cause him to stop with a single command.  Partly, I blamed whoever left the school gate wide open which tempted my Jakei to run out.  One thing I’m certain though, he would not have run out had he been disciplined enough to listen to me.  Again, I am to blame for this.  I’ve been a very permissive parent, and a playful one at that.  My kids are so used to my being their playmate that oftentimes they forget that I am a mother they should heed and respect.

So, what steps have I taken to rectify this? I’ve tried shouting, not sparing the rod, and giving punishments for disobedience and bad behaviour.  Although this apparently works for other children, this mode of discipline has made my kids turn for the worse.  They’ve started hitting and shouting as well.  It may seem amusing to see them imitate my or my husband’s exact tone of voice but, really, it breaks my heart to see them so terribly angry like that – like us.

That change in behavior definitely called for another discipline tactic to be employed.  Positive discipline is what I’m trying to implement now.  Positive discipline is neither permissive nor punitive.  Instead of immediately punishing them for misbehavior, we try to figure out what pushes them to do certain actions and work on changing those.  We are learning that it is possible to be firm yet kind at the same time.  It’s still too soon to see the effect of positive disciplining in my children as we’ve only started with it now(and hopefully, not too late!).  However, I have noticed that they do indeed respond better to praise and encouragement than to reprimands.  Also, it has caused me less emotional stress.  My kids and I still drive each other crazy, but at least we’re all happy about it. 😀

How about you, how do you discipline your children?  Do share it with me and I just might try and see if it works here at home.


  1. Have you ever red the Dare to Discipline book? It is the best book I’ve ever read about child-discipline.

    My daughter is five years old and a defiant one. She has her own way to do things. There are times that I also lose my patient and shout at her and I also applied corporal punishment if she disobeyed intently. I also reward her for good behavior. We have behavior chart to monitor her behavior in daily basis. My daughter behaves instantly when she sees my eyes are angry 😀 Discipline, based on observation is actually a trial and error. It differs for each child.

  2. Yes, sometimes, as initial reaction, we are used to look for someone to be blame but in the end, we will realize as parents that we have been part of the problem.
    Good for your positive discipline idea. I know it will result into a good one.

  3. thanks for sharing this positive discipline concept…
    omg, i am overwhelmed of stuff shared by mommy bloggers like you, i am acquiring so much info

  4. i do not know what to share since I am not a mother. Seriously, when my nieces cry because her siblings do not give what they want, I just let them cry. I do not want them to grow up being spoiled. I also teach them to give and take.

  5. Thank God your son is okay. There can be many styles of parenting and disciplining and each child responds differently. Good luck to you!

  6. I love that “positive discipline” thanks for introducing it to me/us. I’d do more research about it. Do you have books about it to recommend?

  7. Positive discipline is the way to go. Sometimes, reverse psychology might work as well even for youngsters.

  8. OMG! That’s a horrible 🙁 Glad nothing bad happened.
    I think it’s the first response of a parent to be mad at the child.
    Cause it’s the same response you would give to an adult as well. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

    I don’t have a child yet but I’m glad to read mommy blogs because I learn a lot.
    As early as now, I’m worried what kind of discipline I would give to my child. :/

  9. I always try to explain the consequences. Sometimes it sticks, sometimes her stubborn streak wins out. We just have to do the best we can.

  10. Good thing you implement positive discipline. Other parents aren’t like you. they’ve been doing harsh disciplines and that’s real bad for children.

  11. Thanks for this post, Mommy Olga! 🙂 We have discipline issues at home, too, and single-command obedience is something we’ve been trying to teach our kids, especially our son. 🙂 We all have our struggles and I am just so thankful that nothing happened to your little boy! Thank GOD for guardian angels! Blessings to you and your family!

  12. I’ve read a lot about positive discipline, and slowly implementing it at home. My kids (6 y.o and 1 y.o). When I loses my temper I also shout and use corporal punishment and based on experience it kinda create a rebellious attitude, esp. with the eldest. So, my husband and I are still on the process of learning the art of posivity parenting. Instilling discipline is indeed the most challenging part of parenthood.

  13. that is one scary moment 🙁 am glad that Jake is doing fine 🙂 Yes! I do discipline my kids and I do not want them to be spoiled rotten 🙂 They listen and sometimes they talk back 🙂 coz they do not get what they want 🙂 Dropping by from BC, so sorry this is a very late visit 🙁

  14. I don’t have a child but I feel like having one because of my neighborhood kids and my tutees. They will never care if you’re angry at them or not. They just do what they want.

  15. I have read several parenting books positive discipline helps the most as compared to punishment. You can try role reversal with them to see if they really understand the message of danger which you are trying to convey to them.

  16. There are really times the little ones are so hard to tame, though in most cases I have used different strategies in letting them listen and obey. Sometimes some of them works but most of the time does not and sometimes it results to showing them that you’re angry already.


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