I have discovered that’s it’s much harder to discipline my own children than it is to discipline other kids. In fact, I was a terrific parent before I actually had any kids. I had all the answers, displayed superb boundaries, and gave out advice like it was candy.
Now, things are different.
Now I have my own two adorable little bundles of joy, and I find it increasingly more difficult to say “no” to anything. Not a good start to life. As soon as the tears start falling, I am ferociously tempted to give in to whatever boundary I have established and let things slide “just this once”. “After all”, I reason, “the poor kids is tired. Or perhaps sick. Or nervous.” Or maybe they are just exercising their sinful nature and trying to get their own way.
I think that last one is the most accurate.
At any rate, I’m trying a new technique. It’s called “Counting to Ten”. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?
Usually, this technique is used when someone is trying to control their anger. I’m using to control my tendency to give in. For example, at nap time, I put Abigail (almost 2 years old) in her bed and say it’s time for a nap. She immediately starts crying (usually). In the past, at the first sign of distress, I may have taken her out and rocked or, or put her in my lap, or put her in my bed for a together nap. Now, I count to ten. Usually, by the time I get to ten, she has accepted her fate and, miraculously, laid down and gotten all comfortable for a nap.
That is simply amazing.
I now have begun using this little trick for all kinds of situations, and remarkably, it’s quite versatile. I have heard that kids actually WANT boundaries. They want to know that a parent is in charge and it going to establish rules and order. The quick acceptance of whatever discipline or boundary I try to enforce proves this to be true.
So, if you struggle with saying “no” to that cute little face, try counting to ten and see where it gets you!