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.