I have always struggled with this topic from the moment my son was born in August of 2012. When my son was a baby, the thought of letting him cry it out when I put him to bed broke my heart. I learned early on that I was not that mom. I was the mom who rocked her son to sleep, regardless of how long it took. I was the type of mom that sat outside his room when he was a year old; listening for any sound that indicated he needed me. But as time went on and my son grew up, I found myself being more open to the thought of letting my son cry. I have always struggled with discipline when it comes to my beautiful son James. Even when I knew I should punish my son, I still caved and showed him love and patience. When I should have sent him to his room for back talking, I always found myself going in his room a minute later to tell him I love him. Part of this was due to me feeling guilty, but mostly it was just because I didn’t want to see my precious son cry.
I hear all the time from people who don’t have kids say, “If I had a son, and he did this or that, I would spank his butt or send him to his room.” For me, this is SO much harder said than done. It’s one of those things that is necessary, but that doesn’t make it any easier. My son is almost 4 years old, and I still don’t believe in spanking and I never will. A lot of people will disagree with me, and in fact, it’s something my husband and I sometimes disagree on. There is no right way to punish your child. There is no right way to be a parent. You can only be the best parent you can be. There are some great things I have learned that seem to work with my son.
The Bad Stair
Whenever my son does something he is not supposed to such as talking back, not listening, or saying disrespectful things, I tell him to go sit on the bad stair. What is the “bad stair?” This is the bottom step on the staircase that leads up to our attic loft. My son sits on this stair and faces the wall until I tell him to get up. This might not seem like a very powerful tool to punish your child, but James seems to react really well to it.
Taking Things Away
It’s always amazing how dependent kids these days are on electronics. My son is no exception. He can navigate my iPad better than I can. He knows where his games are and how to navigate his favorite apps. The iPad is his favorite thing in the world. When my son needs to be punished he loses the iPad for an entire day. I will usually give him a warning. I say things like “James, I am not going to tell you again, one more time and you lose the iPad.” He learns quickly that to keep his privileges, he must behave.
The Secret Of The Whisper
The number one thing I have learned that is the most successful with my son is the power of the whisper. When I was trying to figure out and navigate this whole punishing business, I found myself yelling a lot. My son would be in the living room, and I would be in the kitchen. I would yell across the room “James, stop it” or “James, knock it off.” I would never get a reaction from him. I found that if I took the time to actually sit down with my son, talk gently and quietly, he would react more to my requests. For this to work, you have to be sitting next to your child, looking right into their eyes. Start a conversation with them. I say things like, “James, it really makes mom upset when you do this or that” or ” Do you know why what you were doing is wrong?” Screaming my requests wasn’t working, so I switched to quiet conversations with my son.
Through all of this, I have realized that punishing my son is something I had to learn as a parent. It did not come naturally. There are so many things we must teach our children, but to me, the number one thing I want my son to know is how much I love him. Through all of this, I have learned that punishing my son is out of love. Whether it’s to keep them safe or to protect them, we do it because we love them. All you can do is be the best parent you can – that’s all they need.
Do you struggle with punishing your child too? Sometimes it's just nice to know you're not alone! Leave comments below!