Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lazy Discipline

My son knows how to push my buttons. He really does. 

I yell his middle name for effect, and then proceed with my tirade. "Go to your room. Now! Do not pass "Go", do not collect any money, and do not come out until you're ready to straighten up. Or until you turn 21. Whichever comes first." 

I am livid. "And you can forget even touching your Kindle for the rest of this decade," I throw at his retreating back. 

Yeah, so I'm exaggerating. A little.

But that's almost how it goes sometimes. I allow him to push me right to the edge, and then I topple off, taking him with me. My angry response could have been avoided had I simply dealt with the problem at the first sign of trouble, (like when I could sense somewhere in the back of my mind that his pent-up energy was about to get out of hand) and if I had only been firm but gentle. I'm not totally sure, but I think...yes, it's true...*blushing*...that laziness has something to do with it. 

It's far easier to raise my voice, send him to his room, or swat his behind than to take him aside and deal with him like he needs to be dealt with. It takes effort, self control, and a whole lot of wisdom to sit down with him, explain how what he did was wrong, discipline him with love, and pray with him. But, when I do, the difference in his response is amazing. Not only is it a time of learning for him, but also a time of stronger bonding between us. Yes, even in discipline! 

I know it can't be done every time he does something wrong. If I tried that, I'd never have time for anything else! But, if I do it whenever I can,  the occasions when he needs serious discipline will lessen. 

Something I read recently made me realize that, far too often, I don't respect my child. And please don't take that the wrong way. I am a firm believer in children keeping their places and respecting their elders! But, really, when I discipline my child in front of his siblings or other people, it's embarrassing to him and hampers my opportunity to properly handle the situation. 

I've been working on not being lazy in discipline. The results are worth it! By taking him aside when I can, explaining to him exactly what he did wrong, disciplining him, praying with him and loving him, I am showing him how seriously I take my job as his mommy. It helps him to learn about self control, too, because he sees me exercising it when I don't raise my voice and dish out random, rash, consequences. 

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1, ESV

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