Wednesday, March 24, 2010


So, I am the kind of person that LOVES to give advice. It is usually a trait that doesn't get me into too much trouble, but every once in a while, it does.

Most of the times in my life that I have gotten into "trouble" have been when I offered advice about disciplining other people's children. My own children really could not be more stubborn, prideful, strong-willed, and difficult sometimes, (from their dad, of course), so disciplining is a huge issue at our house. But, I feel like this is one of the most important things we learn as parents. Really. So I thought I would post a bit about how we discipline.

A Chinese proverb states: "Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes."

I picked up this book when my oldest son was two-years old. I have referred to it every time he has frustrated me since then - which means I have read it multiple times! It is a great book.

Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child : Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries
Basically, the books explains how important it is to be consistent, and avoid getting visibly angry or frustrated with your children (to avoid power struggles - if they know they are frustrating you now, they might use it later when they want to frustrate you). Consistency is key to how a parent reacts to and disciplines children. The trick is to remain calm and have a punishment that is always the same, (we love the time-out chair (for the same number of minutes as their age in years) - we never spank or yell - well, try to never yell).

Our latest challenge has been with our older children not listening, and us not responding correctly because we are in over our heads with craziness. They are talking back more and ignoring our requests (to clean up, etc.), because usually we are too busy to notice if they have listened, and too busy to follow up with a time-out if they have not. And the kids have so noticed this!

Our seven-year old has started telling little white lies and our five-year old has started being sassy. Just yesterday I had to recommit myself to noticing and putting them on time-out for these behaviors. Usually it only takes one or two times before the behavior stops. But, I have to be consistent about how I react and discipline them, and teach them what is acceptable and appropriate. 

It is interesting that as we discipline our children, we learn to be more disciplined ourselves.

Anyways! I can't get into too much trouble if I post this on the blog, right? (Having a one-sided conversation is so great, sometimes.) Oh yes, and it is actually me that is totally prideful and stubborn, not my husband. Isn't it fun to see what your kids have inherited from you?


Jen said...

Your little girl SO looks like you and your sisters, such a resemblence. I've been spinning my wheels and losing sleep over how we are going to discpline Alex because Nate and I are quite the pushovers. I've been asking around for a book recommendation without any luck so I'm quite grateful for the post :)

Amanda said...

Discipline is SO hard! We haven't really started with Henry yet but the older he gets the more I look at how other people discipline and teach their children. I am much more sympathetic now that I am a mom!

Christensen Family said...

Discipline is hard. Especially when you are pregnant and tired all the time. I know I need to be a little more consistent right now. It is interesting too that each of us disciplines and parents differently. And not one way is right over others. It is always nice to get advice from others about it though! Thanks. I also was listening to Dr. Laura (don't do it often but it is interesting) and she was giving advice for kids who lie. She said to promise them something - like going to get a treat after school. And then not do it. And when the child says that you said you would do it ... say "oh I lied"! I don't know if it would work but it was interesting. Definitely would bring up conversation about how it feels to be lied to. Anyway... I think both you and Jared are wonderful parents!