I am about to write my opinion. This should not be confused with professional advice or something you should practice with your children. Some of you may think I am off my rocker for talking about a subject that I have yet to really dive into, but my little rascal is crawling around the house, climbing onto everything, and trying to leap from A to B, and I feel like getting a grip on discipline early will be crucial in preventing headaches, heartache, and ER visits.
I grew up scared of wooden spoons. It was the preferred method of punishment in my family’s house and I can’t say it didn’t work. I hated that method of discipline. If I did something wrong, the wooden spoon was swatted at me. I may not have been the best behaved child, but I knew that if I f*ed around, it was the wooden spoon I got.
I always said that I wouldn’t use the wooden spoon with my children, but never thought too much about what method of discipline I would use. I wanted to be the cool mom, the mom who was a friend to her children, but also someone they looked up to. I wanted to be the best mom I could be, but didn’t overthink discipline while pregnant and, even nine-and-a-half months into motherhood, don’t know which method we will use, but what I will tell you is my views on the subject.
Discipline is necessary. Actually, parenting is necessary. If you let children run amok, they will not respect you as their elder and bad things can happen. A child needs to understand the word “No.” A child should also understand that using the word “no” doesn’t mean you don’t love them.
I absolutely adore children, but occasionally a friend brings their kids along, and I want to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. I have a few friends that don’t use the word “no.” They let their kids do as they please and, for the most part, they are good-natured, happy children. My friends even tout about how well-behaved they are in their homes. Here, you see, is the first problem. Just because a child is well-behaved in one environment, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the word “no” in someone else’s space.
On a recent sleepover, a friend’s child screamed for a good two hours while I tried to put Atticus to bed. Not once was the word “no” used, and not once did the child behave appropriately. I can understand positive reinforcement to some extent; I try my best to limit the word “no” when telling Atticus not to do things. I will instead say “how about we do this,” or “this is for Atticus.” I understand how important it is for children to understand what is and is not for them, and what could hurt them. When parents choose to avoid the word no entirely, it just sets up a recipe for disaster.
Children need to respect their surroundings, in and out of their own home. If a child who doesn’t understand the word “no” comes into my house and starts disrespecting my property or hurting my son, the other child needs to understand that his behavior is unacceptable.
Discipline is like a mental hug for children. They need it. They will thrive off of it. Expecting a child to behave perfectly all the time isn’t realistic, but what is realistic is giving the child ground rules for good behavior. And if using the word “no” guides them in a better direction; I don’t see the harm in using it. Perhaps I am old school when it comes to discipline, but using the word “no” is not going to mentally damage your child if you use it sparingly and in the correct manor. “No” is a universal word that is understood everywhere. By using it in the correct way, we could potentially save our child’s life in the event someone of a different nationality has to tell them to stop doing something harmful.
I would love to find out how you plan on disciplining your children and how the word “no” fits into your household.