My son has been pushing some boundaries over the last couple of days and it has me extremely frustrated (I know, who doesn’t experience this). A couple of nights ago, he seemingly was on a mission to destroy my very last nerve. He had been told to take a break from electronics for the night but repeatedly tried to get back on his mother’s laptop to play Roblox. He had also been told that he could not eat any snack food until he had eaten something healthy for dinner. Yet, here he comes with a bowl of Doritos into the living room (which is also not allowed). At this point, I told him that he needed to get it together or he would be spending the rest of his evening sitting in his room instead of participating in a family movie night with the rest of us.
Shortly afterward, I look over to see him jumping up and down on the couch which he also has been told repeatedly not to do. At this point, I was done. It was as if he was deliberately hitting all of the things that he knew would push me. I sent him to his room where he sat until bedtime.
This angered him and he did not seem to understand why it had happened, which frustrated me even more. How in the world can a person be so unaware of what they are doing that they continue to overstep their boundaries to the point that they need to be disciplined? I mean, get it together man.
But then, I dwelt on it for a bit. Was eight years old Zach any different? I remember my parents saying that it was like their words, “went in one ear and out the other.” Wow, that sounds familiar. I know my son doesn’t disobey for the sake of angering me. However, that doesn’t mean that I let it slide either.
Discipline is necessary. In its absence, all forms of bad habits and behaviors can be created.
I’m looking through this old notebook that my mother gave to me and one of the questions is When you needed punishment as a child, which parent corrected you and how?
In our house, dad did the majority of the punishing (correcting). It was not that my mother was absent from that, she just worked a lot and dad was home. While I do not agree with his methods, I appreciate that he was not willing to let things slide and that he was more concerned with correcting behavior than he was with how I felt about him.
When I was younger, dad would use the belt on me. It wasn’t constant. I didn’t always get the belt. However, from time to time, my behavior would reach a point that he felt the belt was necessary. This stopped one day when he went overboard and left welts on my legs. He was a little drunk and missed my butt, connecting with the bare skin of my legs. That was the last time that I ever got the belt.
After that, he just started grounding me. I feel like I was grounded most of my childhood. That’s probably an exaggeration but it’s something that my friends and I would actually joke around about. If they were going to go do something, they just assumed that I would not be able to because I would be grounded for something.
I always felt like he got a little out of control when it came to the groundings but, as an adult, I look back and see that it didn’t actually harm me to have to stay home so much. It, at least, was less abusive than having welts on the back of my legs.
What is my point in all of this today? Discipline is important. Everyone’s methods are different but the end result should always be the same. We must raise our children to be respectful of those around them and to be productive members of society.
To fail in disciplining your children will create entitlements and a general lack of respect for the needs of those around you. I discuss this in detail in my ebook titled, How To Raise Your Kids Without Ruining Them which you can buy on Amazon with the provided link.
Having spent 8 years working in behavioral facilities for children, I have seen firsthand what happens when a child is brought up without these boundaries.
People, you must set those boundaries at an early age and enforce them hard. Do not abuse your children but find an appropriate level of discipline that teaches them to respect both you and themselves while bringing them into the adult world.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.