The Gentle Road is Always Harder

October 26, 2012

Alexia blogs at Babies and Bacon. Which always makes me hungry and yet my ovaries ache… She’s this rock star mom with two gorgeous girls and blogs about it all – the good, the bad, the ugly. I love how she keeps it real.

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Sometimes being a mother to a 2 year old is incredibly sweet and amazing.

And then there are those other times.

When it feels like your living with a mini dictator who rattles off orders while running around your house in various states of undress refusing to do anything you ask.

My little monster, Cedella, is 2 ½ going on 13. I wrote all about her blossoming Terrible Twos HERE.

While she’s incredibly bright, she is fiercely independent and not a great listener. Challenging, when you’re just trying to get your kid to follow directions. When it comes to discipline my husband and I had always agreed that spanking, yelling and insulting weren’t options. That’s how we were both raised and we wanted to break that vicious cycle with our family.

Easier said than done.

I’ve read millions of books on gentle discipline and I’ve gleaned some pretty helpful information over the past year. But of course there’s just one problem…

Remembering said helpful information in the heat of the moment.

That’s what I struggle with every single day. As a SAHM I’m with my kids. A LOT. All day. And occasionally, all night. I love them, this is the choice I made, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

But still…sometimes it’s a lot.

Sometimes after the third 1-2-3 count and the fifth time-out and the ninth ‘no’ I’m just done being this gentle, respectful, calm parent I’m striving to be.

And the yelling starts, followed by at least one or two bad words. Then the Blame and Shame game begins.

I blame my sweet child for making me crazy, usually leading to big old alligator tears rolling down her cheeks. Then I shame myself for being such a bad guy and making her feel bad for something that is just a pretty typical impulsive kid thing to do. No parent wants to be the Bad Guy. But sometimes, someone has to be. And since my husband works 8 to 12 hour days, I’m Bad Guy quite often.

And seriously? I am sick of it. We need a better plan.

So I’ve decided to stop the Blame and Shame game and work on organizing all my gathered resources and concepts into one Top 5 Gentle Discipline Solutions list.

Why should all this awesome knowledge and experience by wasted on one spirited child and her stressed out mother? Here’s what I’ve learned along the way and what works for us.

  1. 1. Pick Your Battles. This is the easiest and the hardest. You gotta know when something is important and when you can just let it go. Mismatched socks? Not a big deal. Running in a parking lot? Big deal. Just in this step alone I save myself tons of grief.
  2. Counting to 1-2-3-4-5/Time Out Combo. Counting calms everything down and gives both parties time to think. When she starts in on a behavior that isn’t safe or she isn’t listening I start counting. Though it took a couple weeks to sink in now, she stops in her tracks and listens. Sometimes it doesn’t work and she gets a time out. Sitting quietly in a chair to rest and think for 3 minutes.
  3. Walk Away. Don’t be afraid to take your own time out. Because in walking away from a situation you’re furious with to calm down you are modeling that behavior to your child. It teaches that it’s not ok to respond out of anger. It’s a very powerful lesson.
  4. Hug it Out/Laugh it Off. Sometimes being a kid is incredibly challenging and overwhelming and misbehaving is about wanting attention and to be heard. A well-placed hug and acknowledgment of their emotions is worth a million time outs. Just laughing with a sad kid brightens the mood right up. Being reassured that you’re there for them fills up the need for negative attention.
  5. Consistency & Follow Through. This is probably the most important thing to remember. Whatever discipline method you choose both parents have to be consistently doing the same things. And follow through on time outs, consequences and rewards. Because sometimes taking something away today means a child that respects that something, and you, tomorrow.

Here’s hoping that I can take a spoonful of my own medicine and remember this stuff in the heat of the moment.

A lot of the books and resources I’ve gathered these tips from can be found on my ‘Parenthood’ board on Pinterest.

Would love to hear any tips and tricks y’all use in your home too!

Post a comment here or find me on my Facebook page.

8 Comments

  • Kelli @ Momma Needs a Beer

    October 29, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Discipline is generally a tough topic for the hubs & I. We both have to fight the urge to yell… and, consistency is not our strong suit. We are getting there though. Seems that just when you think you have a handle on one level of behavior, another creeps up to throw your entire routine out of whack. Always something to learn. Thanks for composing such a thoughtful post, Alexia!! Excellent tips.

  • Val

    October 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    It’s okay to say, “Cut the crap,” when it’s time.

    I am a non-spanker too, and try to avoid intimidation.

    But guilt? Guilt is effective and honest. How they behave creates feelings in others and is it nice to be loud when Dad is on the phone? When the baby is sleeping?

    No, it’s quite naughty and mean.

    You get the idea. We did have a kid we called Napoleon behind his back. (The Little Dictator.) He’s 20 now, 3rd year in college, civilized and reasonable, lol.

    love, Val

  • Teresha F

    October 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    You know I have a fiesty one too, so I know everything you go through. I applaud you for taking the gentle road…it’s a road less traveled but the kids whose parents stick to that path are better for it. Oh, and my new method is to curse like heck under my breath and to go in my room and scream and then come back out

    1. Alexia @ Babies & Bacon

      October 27, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      Hahaha! Teresha I know that method all too well! Our fiesty ladies bring that out in us, don’t they? Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Tracey

    October 27, 2012 at 10:48 am

    “When it feels like your living with a mini dictator who rattles off orders while running around your house in various states of undress refusing to do anything you ask.” Ha! So great… and strangely accurate!

    1. Alexia @ Babies & Bacon

      October 27, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      You’ve seen, and you know it true! Thanks for reading!

  • Heather in ND

    October 26, 2012 at 9:22 am

    The Nurtured Heart Approach is an amazing thing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nurtured_Heart_Approach

    If you read about it, it talks about transforming a difficult child, but really it can be used for ALL children. It can be a tough, tough thing to do… but really, it works wonders!! Wikipedia has a better way of explaining things than I can! I hope people look in to this and read about it!

    1. Alexia @ Babies & Bacon

      October 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Thanks for sharing that link Heather! Definitely going to look into that method!

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