Being a parent is hard. It brings out all of my less pleasant character traits, and often makes me feel like a failure. But I love my daughter, and I want her to be fun to be around. I also want her to grow up to be an adult who has balance and self control.
Almost nine months ago I posted about discipline, and how I had no idea what I was doing a lot of the time, and how I worried about doing the right thing for my precious girl.
We have read a TON of books about discipline, and we have watched friends (and sometimes even strangers), and came up with our own little method.
Please don’t think we went into the whole being parents thing without any discipline plan in place at all…we had basic plans. We knew what behavior we wanted, and we knew what we wanted to do and not do…let me explain…
We knew, for instance, that we would not be spanking. We knew that for us, it would not work.
Am I against spanking? Yes and no. We have friends that spank, and it works for them, so no. For us, yes, I am against it. The husband and I were in complete agreement that we would not spank, for a couple reasons: one, the husband did not feel comfortable with this form of discipline because of how he was raised, and two (and most importantly), we knew our child would be older, and would most likely come from an orphanage. We didn’t know how our child would have been disciplined, but knew that she would most likely have been spanked. Her past treatment could cause her to misunderstand the reason or purpose of a spanking. Add in all of the trauma that comes with the huge change of adoption, and spanking could cause regression, problems with attachment, and even more trauma… so that was not an option for us.
We knew that we would be using some form of time out/time in, and we would also incorporate natural consequences, a la Parenting with Love and Logic.
When redirection doesn’t work we use time outs, but these time outs happen in close vicinity to us, and we try to be consistent, firm, and empathetic. As child psychologist Karyn Purvis explains, children who come from hard places need us to be empathetic, but also firm, disciplining in a loving manner.
We do a lot of “re-dos.” After talking to little M about a behavior, we have her “try again,” modeling the correct response or behavior.
For more severe behaviors, she sits in a corner. This gives her, and us, a chance to regroup and calm down before coming back together to talk and try again. Even when she is in the corner, we are close by, in the same room. Our goal is not to ever have her feel isolated, so she will most likely not ever be sent to her room. Being sent away from us as punishment can send the wrong message, that she is undesirable or unwanted because of her behavior.
And lastly, we try to give her grace. Just like we adults need grace from each other, when we are tired or cranky, or just having an off day, little kids need that. Little kids need to be extended the same grace we give to adults, the same courtesy and understanding we give to each other. And yes, I have to remind myself of this daily. Ha.
I want the very best for her, and I want to be the best mom I can be to this precious little M.
Disclaimer: I am in no way an expert on discipline, and do not claim to have the “right way.” I have no idea what the right way is. This is just what works for us, in our family, with this child right now.