The thoughts of an American Muslim and mother of four raising her children in small town USA with her Egyptian husband.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Not everything that's good is easy...
I have not been practicing truley mindful guidance/discipline with my children for quite some time. My husband has taken on the role of disciplinarian and I gladly let him have it. Now with him overseas I have had to take on that role and own it. And it has been hard.
I have a temper. And I have too much work to do anyway... Which makes dealing with an explosive child very hard for me. I told DH and decided in my own mind that I was not going to spank. DH does (a literal slap on the hand which seems to be an Egyptian thing), and so have I because this is what the consequences are in our home... So this is a departure for us. I am reserving spanking for the rare instance where the child is putting himself in harms way... Which has not happened since the 20th of April when DH departed. And I am now trying to have the punishment fit the crime (so to speak). Make a mess, clean it up. Take advantage of a freedom (playing outside for example) lose it.
What has surprised me is that staying calm and limiting discipline to taking away toys or privileges has been hard for me. It seems like the more I bottle up the yelling the more angry I am. Also, I think I was satisfied by the immediacy of the slap on the hand in a way. It was easier than following through on things that happen later such as no TV time, or no dessert... And what is different about delayed consequences for me is that I have a second explosion to deal with when they are enforced.
I know my kids are old enough to understand consequences. They are 5, 6, and 8 now... And of course the 2yo is out of the equation. I know that this is the better way... It also seems to be the harder way. Much harder.
One thing I did about a month before DH left was a schedule. We have set times to do things. Breakfast, lunch, nap time for the baby, play outside/free play, dinner, bath times boys and girls on alternating days, and then reading and workbooks before bed. It made a huge difference. And I have been hiring for things that need to be done for DH's business that will take me out of my schedule. What does this have to do with discipline you ask? Well, I find that anticipating blow-ups and not just letting the kids run randomly from one thing to the next helps me AVOID having to discipline.
Doing the right thing isn't always easy. And it isn't always what you WANT to do. I would love to spank someones behind and send them to bed when they trash the room they are supposed to be playing in... But now I calmly tell them they will have to clean it up before the timer goes off or they will be missing dessert or TV time that evening. Allah be with me... I am trying!LOL
I am a mother to four wonderful kids and the wife to one wonderful Egyptian! We live in a small town in the Midwest and work in our small businesses. I am also a Waldorf preschool teacher and childcare provider, a backyard chicken lady, a part time homeschooler, and a generally crunchy mama (think hijabi in birks).