Skip to main content

Difficult to discipline myself


An advocate of mine likes to remind me that my daughter is one of my greatest teachers. It sounded hokey the first few times she said it. Now, I agree completely.

I have ruminated on this lately because I just finished reading the book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline on the advice of the staff at The Kid's preschool. As a family, Grandma included, we're reading it so we are all approaching discipline for The Kid from the same place.

While I will not be giving a full book report, there are a few things that make the approach advocated in the book difficult for me to follow because it is not a part of my nature. For example, I am learning to tell The Kid when I notice her doing something we want to reinforce and to "notice" without judgement. Instead of saying, "good job clearing your plate," I have been saying things like, "I see you doing your part to help our family by clearing your plate."

The reasoning behind the exercise is sound, so it makes sense to try it and so far, it seems to be helping us through some typical 4.5 year old behavior.

Another example is to give your kid choices. For example, do you want to put the toothpaste on yourself or would you like me to do it? There is no third option, so I end up reminding The Kid that not brushing her teeth is not an option occasionally. Again, the reasoning is solid, especially at this age.

Frankly, the approaches the book advocates have helped us all help The Kid navigate what her feelings mean and how to work through them in a healthy way. But to get there and to really help her, I need to be better. Which is why I say she's a great teacher. The Kid does occasionally remind me if I am getting frustrated to do STAR (stop, take a deep breath and relax), but that is not where she does her best teaching.

She teaches by motivating me to be more patient, more mindful of how I act and react. It takes mindfulness to watch your child and "notice" when exhibiting a behavior you want to reinforce. It takes mindfulness to do so without adding judgement or shame to the conversation. It takes mindfulness to be patient and firm with the choices given after The Kid has asked for a third option for the 18th time. It takes mindfulness because it is a method that is counter to the way demonstrated to me by several adults in my life growing up.

That is not a dis on the way I was raised, or a slap at anyone. Instead, every parent I know wants to provide a better life for their kids than the one they have. I am no different. That bar was set pretty high for me, and to get there, I have to do things differently. It means growing more, learning more, changing more so I can help guide my daughter.

This journey has taught me a great deal already. I am grateful to have a mostly patient, earnest teacher in the form of The Kid.    




Popular posts from this blog

The value of keeping an old-school journal

I started journaling a few years ago as a way to get some of the thoughts in my brain out in a less public way than a blog. I focused my journal on writing letters to my daughter about everything from my own childhood to her loving attempt to serve breakfast to our family this morning. The journal coincided with my decision to wind down the number of blog posts about her, mostly because she deserves to tell her own story when she wants to tell it and in the way she wants to tell it.

I also want to save the embarrassing stories for when she starts dating.

Lately, I have done a lousy job keeping up on my journal. Until a few nights ago, I had not updated it since mid-June. Life has been hectic, trying to balance a demanding job with an exacting MBA schedule, family, and my want for being involved in city politics. Putting off journaling has been easy, there is always something that seems more pressing on my plate.

Finally I made the decision to wait one more day before finishing a pape…

When is Nick Jr. going to start giving dads a chance?

Nick Jr. has really ticked me off lately. They started messing with their morning lineup, and now I can't watch Little Bill before work anymore. And I'd much rather have Ni Hao Ki-lan or The Fresh Beat Band on the television than Max and Ruby.

Regardless of what's on, starting Friday mornings, they promote the daylights out of their NickMom project. I've tried watching a few of the programs to get what the deal is, and I don't understand how the vapid comedy displayed on Parental Discretion with Stefanie Wilder-Taylor stays on the air. 
Sadly, the show is better than Take Me To Your Mother, which is borderline offensive because of her premise that she's an accidental mother who doesn't want to raise a jerk. First of all, how do you accidentally become a mother? Or do the show's producers think we're all rubes? On the subject of jerks, do boys automatically come out of the womb as a jerk? Also she's very clearly bothered that her son is a jock, a…

6 questions about adopting a kid in Michigan, a proud papa's perspective

Gladys and I occasionally field questions from friends curious about adopting. They are questions we welcome, because there are a lot of places people can get started and not many places where people are forthcoming with answers. Here are some of the common ones we hear. 
1. Why did you adopt through the foster care system? 
The first answer is cost. We heard horror stories of how much privately arranged adoptions could be, and we decided that wouldn't work for us. Our costs were for fingerprinting, court filing fees and extra copies of The Kid's new birth certificate. All told, the direct financial costs were under $300. 
The second answer is we felt it was the right thing for us to do. There are plenty of kids in metro Detroit that need a home, and according to MARE, there are approximately 3,000 kids available for adoption each year in Michigan. I've also wondered out loud why people are inclined to adopt internationally over adopting locally, just in case you're wo…

Ebates

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back