Just saying the word discipline in a group brings up so many opinions. Everyone has his or her own view from spanking and time out to grounding and limiting privileges. Everything can be a very controversial topic. Regardless of your personal beliefs, it’s important to remember to respect one another’s views and know when and how we can discipline.
When I was a child, my dad was very much a disciplinary parent. He wasn’t harsh or cruel, but he had a very specific set of expectations. His expectations were easy to keep once we knew them. My mother, on the other hand, had a sliding set of rules depending on her mood. She could be harsh. It was very confusing.
When I had children, my husband and I created our own expectations. We created rules that were static and never changed. It worked most the time . . . until I got divorced. My rules didn’t change, but their dad changed his rules. It was very confusing for the kids.
We have to remember that discipline serves two purposes. First, it exists to correct a wrong behavior, and second, to teach values and create an understanding for your child. Rules a child does not understand will be broken again. Rules that conflict or change cause chaos.
>> LISTEN :: Discipline Discussions :: Momfessions Podcast :: Episode 56 <<
Adjusting Rules and Discipline
When remarried, I gained a beautiful bonus daughter. At the same time, my ex remarried and my kids got a bonus mom. Suddenly, I was in the position of having rules and expectations while helping all three kids learning to juggle conflicting rules. In all, there were three sets of rules they needed to follow: mine, my ex and his new wife’s, and my bonus’s birth mom.
I would like to say co-parenting was seamless, but it never was, or is. Everyone is passionate about the kids, and everyone has their own idea about what’s best for the kids. There were new rules I didn’t agree with. I bit my tongue. The kids didn’t need a bad attitude from me to deal with; they needed help and clarity.
I made it a point to never judge one of the rules at their other houses. Instead, I ended up helping them understand they needed to follow the rules at the house they were at, which wasn’t an easy task.
For instance, at my house, everyone is expected to help with daily chores. That is not the case at my ex’s. At my house, we sit at the table as a family and offer grace before meals. At my bonus’s other house, they don’t always eat as a family, and don’t offer grace. I have a set time to go to bed, but this is not the case at the other houses. At my house, the kids bathed and brushed their teeth every day — not the case at his house.
The reality is the different rules didn’t hurt anyone. None of these rules were dangerous (stinky, but not dangerous). You learn to adjust.
>> RELATED READ :: When Discipline Goes Too Far :: When & How to Speak Up <<
Now, I have a beautiful granddaughter who I get to take for random weekends here and there. Now, the true balancing act begins! I see things that go against what I would have expected. But guess what? She’s not my child.
Where I would say something to my child, I bite my tongue. It’s no longer my job to make the rules; it’s my job to support my daughter. It’s her job to set rules for HER child.
The only difference is when she’s at my house, if her momma isn’t here, I do have rules I enforce that her momma doesn’t. However, these are rules I discussed with my daughter beforehand. They are simple things my daughter is okay with.
For example, my granddaughter likes running around in just her undies; she lives alone with her momma and if mommas cool with it, so am I. However, at my house, she wears clothes.
Maybe you don’t have a blended house or grandchildren yet, so discipline is more straightforward. Remember though that when your child has friends or cousins over to play, discipline will need to be discussed with all parties involved.
That doesn’t mean you can’t yell out the occasional “don’t run in the house” or “ no rough housing please”. But never discipline a child that is not yours. You can, however, call the play date short, talk to the other parents or not schedule with the child going forward.
The thing to remember is that as much as think we have all the right answers as a mom, there are rules. As a co-parent, grandparent, or a friends mom, your position becomes one of support and not one of all authority. After all, the end goal is for us all to raise well behaved happy children.