Raising children and differing perspectives on discipline and family values can cause controversy in any relationship. On my last family post I spoke about the importance of allowing your husband to be the head of the house. I personally know a lot of women that are naturally dominant and I wouldn’t say they have intentions on becoming “sole ruler” of their household, but their personality is just one that is naturally in charge…yet it’s no more difficult for them than it is for me to allow our spouses to be the head of the house. I don’t have a bunch of reasons why we should do this, I have one; the bible says so.
I think there are a few things in the bible that we may struggle with obeying and for those we must simplify it down to the fact that we should do it just because God says so. When our children ask us over and over, “Why?” when they are told to do something, there comes a point when we have to just tell them, “Because I said so,” and let that be that. You have to trust that God loves you and knows what is best for you; this makes it easier to obey.
Today we are here to talk about how to deal with the issue of having opposing views on how we discipline our children. Some call it punishment but I’ve always felt that word was a bit harsh. To discipline a child is to educate them on what they’ve done wrong, why it is wrong and the effects that the wrong choices have on them…consequences.
When I was a child my father had one primary means of discipline-the belt. My sisters and I were spanked. I think in today’s world that is frowned upon, but I have never found that my sisters and I, or any of my friends who were spanked, have ever looked back and resented our parents for spanking us. It taught us to have a reverential fear for our parents and, more importantly, to refrain from doing the wrong things we knew we weren’t supposed to do. I’ve never felt abused, ever.
Standing in the corner. There were times when my parents were just irritated with my behavior and they’d just have me stand in the corner for a while, with my hands at my side. I’d stomp my foot in protest, and that would earn me another five minutes in the corner. Any more stomping and I’d be on track for another bout with the belt, but I knew better than that.
Writing sentences. My dad would have me write 100 sentences. Sometimes it would be a scripture about obeying and sometimes it would just be, “I will obey my parents.” It didn’t matter to me what it was, it drove me crazy because I had to write it a hundred times!
Taking away privileges. Today we’ve got a LOT more privileges to take away than we did when I was little. I was told I had to stay inside and not play outside with my friends. They didn’t have to take away television because I didn’t often watch TV…I was a bit of a tom-boy and preferred the outdoors. Not being able to go outside and play was a nightmare for me. Today I take away my children’s electronics because they are millennial and that is all they care about. Cell phones, Nintendo’s, tablets, laptops, Xbox, Playstation…they’ve got it all! When I take one away I take them all away, no exceptions. It’s sad how terribly this impacts them, but this is a new day and age we are living in.
Of all the ways to discipline that I’ve listed here, I’ve had to use all of them on my children at some time or another. I will say that I’ve only had to use the belt a handful of times, and I’m not sure it had much impact since mommy isn’t a heavy-handed 6-foot tall man like my dad was. My husband has had to spank on occasion as well, but we certainly don’t spank our children as much as we were spanked in our childhood…maybe we’re just soft.
Perhaps you don’t you any of these methods of discipline, but your spouse does. Perhaps you feel like any form of discipline is a disservice to your children…I assure you it is not. Still, there are going to be times when you and your spouse disagree and I think I have a way to help you with that.
Talk About It
Easy peasy right? Not! I’ll give you an example from my own experience to help you with this one:
My oldest son is 9 years old and he lied to me. He and his brother had been saving their allowance and his brother (7 years old) had more money than him. I found out that my oldest had taken a euro (we lived in Germany) from his brother’s allowance! I was angry so I brought the two of them together and asked how much money each of them had. They told me and then I sent them to get their wallets and count it. I had the stolen euro in my pocket. My oldest had dropped it unknowingly earlier in the day and I picked it up, knowing it was not his.
They came back to me and my 7yr old reported that he did not have the euro I’d given him. I asked my oldest multiple times if he’d taken it and his response was shady, “What? Ummm, no I don’t think so? Lemme see, uhhhh. No I didn’t take it, honestly.” I sent them away and called my oldest back to me minutes later. I asked him again if he’d taken it and he finally confessed. I then showed him the money that he’d taken. I wanted to discipline him right then and there, but I was angry and I’ve always made it a point not to inflict consequences out of anger…it just feels like revenge when we do that. I simply told him, “You are in trouble and I will let you know what your consequences are later,” and I left it at that.
Later I discussed with my husband the situation and asked what he felt was best to do, and together we decided how we would discipline him. His privilege of receiving allowance was taken away for a while, since that’s directly connected to his offense.
Become a United Front
Even if just one of you decides the consequence for your child’s behavior, show that you are a united front by approaching the child together and discussing his behavior as a group. It shows that you support each other and, for mom, that even though daddy is “head of the house,” he’s not the sole parent in charge of discipline. You work together and earn your child’s respect (because they will not simply give it to you just because you are parents).
Take your Time
As long as it has been made known that your child will be disciplined, take your time discussing it with your spouse to be sure you are on the same page. As a mother it is sometimes very difficult for me not to try to defend my children’s behavior. I take no joy in seeing them disciplined, but I understand the importance of showing them the error of their ways and how much of an impact these years have on their adulthood. I want them to grow up to be respectful men!
These aren’t exactly in order of importance, but you gotta know how important it is to pray. My husband and I don’t pray anything spectacular when it comes to marriage or parenting. I normally say something along the lines of, “Help us to be the husband and wife you need us to be to each other, and help us to raise our children the way you want.” Nothing fancy, just keeping it real.
I hope this helps you and your spouse to be able to come together and discuss the important issues regarding disciplining your children. Tell me what you think! What are some common ways you were corrected as a child, and do you use those same methods on your children?