The smell of rebellion. The stench of revolt. The reek of insubordination. The whiff of resistance. The pong of dissent. The funk of mutiny in action! Discipline discipline for children who aren’t listening for midgets who are fidgeting and whispering in history their chattering and chittering their nattering and twittering is tempered with the smattering of discipline!
Wait, wait, wait, wait. Sorry… they’re just the lyrics of The Smell of Rebellion from the musical Matilda (which by the way if you haven’t yet seen or heard, then you need to get on it now because it is AMAZING!). Ok, so I seem to be cheating on my word count there a little. Let me take a second to compose myself- MINCHIN IS A GENIUS! ….ahem.
Stormaggedon turns 3 next month, so we’ve well and truly entered the discipline phase of his journey to becoming a functioning person. I mean obviously he’s been disciplined before, in small ways, and I’ve always pulled him up on any unacceptable behaviour from quite early on. But it’s only now that he’s truly starting to comprehend action and consequences, and the correlation between the two.
Sooooo, anyone got any ideas? Because, holy crap nothing works! I keep thinking of me from about 10 years ago, let’s call her Bitchy-Judgemental-Doesn’t-Know-Anything-About-Anything Face, where I would watch parents in public with their children and think to myself “Why don’t they do X with their child. That should totally solve the problem”. Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa! I know, what an idiot!
Ok, I’ll admit that there were a lot of opinions that I held when I was younger about parenting children that I do still hold today, and I have managed to put a lot of those opinions into practise. And I’ll admit, some worked and some didn’t. And so some of my opinions changed. That’s called growing. I’ve spoken before about how opinions you’ve held in the past don’t necessarily have to be the same opinions you have today. You have the right to change your mind. But let’s start with the fact that yes, I still believe that a number of parents out there are either unwilling or unable to discipline their children. There does seem to be a bit of entitlement going on. Those stupid Marvel Discs from Woolworths for example. How many parents did we see writing angry letters to Woolworths claiming how upset their children were because they couldn’t collect all the discs because they “deliberately” made some of them rare. How outraged they were that their poor precious children couldn’t cope with the fact that their collection will now be incomplete, and as such they will DEFINITELY boycott Woolworths FOREVER!
Sigh, first of all, no you won’t. That’s just silly. If you’re going to boycott Woolworths, at least make it for a valid reason. Like the fact they keep calling themselves the “Fresh food people”, and yet every time you buy a capsicum from them, and cut into it THE SAME DAY, it’s always furry and mouldy on the inside! (breath in red, breath out pink, breach in red, breath out pink) Secondly, maybe try the old tried and true method of “There are children starving in Africa, you can live without the Black Panther disc”. Blaming Woolworths is not going to solve the problem of poor behaviour, and in my opinion will only enforce it.
However, I’ve found regardless of how you’ve prepared your child on how to behave I’ve realised one thing: No matter what you do they will all react the same. Basically, children are jerks regardless of what you do.
So how do we discipline them then? Well, saying no and sticking to the no is a good start. Let’s all practise saying it together. No. Doesn’t that feel good? Pretend your child is your boss. Now again, NO. Oh yeah, feels good doesn’t it. Just a strong, firm and stern No.
Make threats you will actually follow through with. “If you don’t stop fighting in the back I’m going to turn this car around and we won’t go on our holiday!” No you’re not. We all know you want that holiday as much as your kids do, plus you’ve spent all that money to pay for it. Try “If you don’t stop, we won’t go to that favourite place, or the movie we promised, or no dessert after dinner”. Also don’t try “We will never go on holiday again” – again an empty threat, one that they will soon work out you don’t mean.
Don’t send them to their room, all their good stuff is in there. Perhaps send them outside, the fresh air and sunshine should do them good. Unless of course the bad behaviour started out in the fresh air and sunshine. Then I’m really stumped.
Set clear boundaries that they can understand and easily comply with. Take a toy away and tell them they won’t get it back until they stop doing X, or apologise and mean it, or they do three nice things without asking.
Tell them their behaviour is unacceptable, or disrespectful, or rude. But actually tell them what they did that was wrong and explain it to them. I have a clear memory of having a reward star sticker chart at home when I was about 6 years old. I had to earn a certain number of stars by the end of two weeks, and then I would get a reward. But if I was naughty I would get crosses and then wouldn’t get the reward. One particular outing we came home and my mum gave me 7 crosses. To this day I still don’t know what I did wrong. She didn’t tell me, she just said she was disappointed with how I behaved and crossed away on my chart. Seriously Mum, what they hell did I do!? So, if you explain to your child what was wrong, and why it was wrong you can give them the opportunity to change their behaviour. Instead of just being plain confused 27 years later.
Accept that sometimes no matter what you do, they will just continue with their poor behaviour. Point is, be there to guide and try your hardest.
But most importantly, don’t let them steal your horses, no, don’t let them throw them away, no! If you find your way through they’ll be waiting for you singing neigh, neigh, n- wait, hold on. Sorry, that was Smell of Rebellion again.
Anyway, happy disciplining everyone!
PS. If anyone has a spare $89, I do have a spare no. 42 Hulk disc that I’m willing to sell.