In the comments of previous post, I was asked a number of questions. Andrea had mentioned in her blog earlier in the week that we were dealing with a flu. After getting home from work, I ate and promptly went to bed for over 2 hours. After that, Andrea and i had a chance to catch up on the day and while doing that we took a few minutes to discuss those questions. Andrea responded in her own comment. I think the answers to those questions fit with the who discussion we’ve been having. So, I decided to answer them here in a post. the first question is:
Will you further elaborate on how discipline is handled at your house? – Carrie K.
In a way, this is a difficult question to answer without using extensive examples. However, what I believe is central to our discipline methodology is that we expect (not insist or demand) our kids to be responsible. That doesn’t mean that we expect the same degree wisdom and maturity in a 5 yo that we do in an 18 yo. With the older 3 (13-18), what that translates into is that at those times they have had a moment or 2 of irresponsibility that one of us will sit down with them and discuss how the issue will be corrected. Quite often, the onus has been on them to find a solution which we agree will work (or is worth trying).
At an early age, we allowed (and wanted) them to make choices. From the time they were 2 or younger, they have all picked the clothes they wear for the day. Did each go through a period where they were less that coordinated? Yes. But, the few moments of embarassment we might have endured for their sake has paid off.
Secondly, we expect (again, not insist or demand) that they will be obedient. There is room for them to discuss with us and decide what it is that they are going to do or not do. But once the decision has been made, I fully expect that whatever has been decided, will be carried out. Barring extraordinary circumstances (which do occur), I would be shocked if they didn’t.
Emma is 5 and we are already discussing (as one person to another) things with her. At her age, we are more interested in providing her the opportunity to see the situation from a third person perspective. As she grows and matures, the discussions will become like the ones we currently have with the older kids. But what enables us to have those conversations is the belief that she is capable of being, wants to be and will be responsible and obedient.
BUT are you saying (I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think you are, but am interested in clarification) that you *never* discipline your children for disobedience, that you always give them mercy? – Gem
One of the things I’ve been trying to accomplish has been the disassociation of the word discipline with things that are essentially punishment. To discipline is to train or teach. And yes, at the rare times when they were consciously being disobedient, you can count on the fact that there was discipline involved. But, it would be an instruction sort of discipline. I would be dishonest if I told you that I had never punished my kids. But I don’t consider punishment to be discipline.
In the story I related where Emma said “I promise”, she was not being disobedient to us. We had never told her not to do that. But when I did tell her and explain what she was doing, she did stop. That’s an example where discipline was carried out while being very conscious to gentle, merciful, patience, etc.
Do I occasionally take away privileges (eg. the internet)? Yes, I do. But only in situations where they are not being responsible with whatever is being taken away. When we can get things straightened around so that I’m comfortable that you are going to be responsible with it, you can have it back. But, I don’t consider that punishment. It’s important that they learn that freedom and responsibility are intertwined.