Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Discipline Question

First off, I'll brag a little: our kids are awesome so we (more notably my stay-at-home-mom wife) must be doing something right. However, I know that I could be better at this whole parenting thing; so, I am constantly praying about/seeking ways to improve. One area I'm focusing on right now is discipline. A couple questions for all you other parents out there:

A) Is there any rhyme or reason to your discipline style? If so, I'm curious to hear your thoughts. Read on and give me some feedback. Keep in mind that my kids range from 1-6 years old.

B) If you don't discipline, would you please? Your kids transform fast food play areas from a place of joy (albeit disturbingly pro-bacterial) into a place of danger for all well-behaved kids who are afraid of the wrath that would befall them should they stoop to your kid's level and bite, steal, cuss, hit, or pee on someone. Rant/horrendous run-on sentence over. Seriously though-if Junior bites my toddler, a polite "Now Junior, we talked about how 9-year-olds don't bite. Will you stop if I get you some ice cream?" will someday evolve into: "Now Junior, I thought we talked about not wanting to bail you out of prison again." Ok, now rant over.

Anyhow, in my effort to rule my household with an iron fist I've decided that my discipline style could use a little more organization. We've always believed that the more consistent and predictable the consequence, the more effective the consequence. My wife happens to be gifted at remembering which consequence fits which "crime". I, however, am not and need a reminder of some sort. I'm attempting to put together some sort of "board of doom" (no, I won't call it that...ok, I might) that lists offenses and corresponding punishments. This project made me curious. Have any of you done something like this? If so, what offenses do you list and what are the corresponding punishments? Off the top of my head, I'm thinking it would be something like:

Disobey - lose a privilege
Lie - head thump
Intentionally injure someone (bite, hit, etc.) - spanking
Talk back - lose a privilege
Intentional rudeness (steal, insult, etc.) - lose a toy
Yell - time out

What do you guys do and/or use? Also, what is the best parenting advice that you have received?

Alternatively, I created this in the event that you guys don't provide me with any useful feedback:


  1. Feedback from my mother (as I have no kids): Punishments and consequences are good, however, the child needs to know why its bad that they've done something. Children, surprisingly, do understand when you talk to them, and tell them why hitting brother in the head with his toy was wrong. So... for a system...

    Separate them, have a quiet time with mom and dad, sitting them down to talk about how brother could have been really hurt. They have to feel bad/guilty for their behavior. Treat them like little adults/people. Then let them spin the wheel, lol, j/k. (she liked the wheel idea). Have them apologize to the injured party, in this case brother, then continue through with the consequence/spanking/time out/ect.

    After all is said and done, there's no easy answers, and with all those little ones... lets just say I'm adding you guys to our prayer list.

    P.S. She really thinks your kids are soooooooooooo cute, and thinks you guys are doing a great job and prayer does help... a lot. lol. She thinks you need to write a book. :)

  2. The room of mosquitoes definitely works. I do it to Tadd every time he disobeys.

  3. We do have different consequences for different "offenses". Lying always gets the worst consequence. It's important for us that our kids take responsibility for their choices, accept the consequence, and not compound the problem by lying! I think it also breeds an environment for confession and teaches the importance of transparency.

    I don't know if you've ever read the book "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Ted Tripp...but it helped us move from simply handing out consequences to teaching them how to look into their hearts and deal with the root of the problem....something many adults haven't learned how to do!

  4. great blog and post. i grew up in a house of spankings...and am a firm believer in what's wrong with kids today could be helped with a little more schools especially. (my dad was also my principal). but i think with kids you have to find what punishment works best with what kid. time out can be great...if it works. i have one kid (i blame on being born under the sign of taurus the bull) that is so hard headed and you could beat until she was blue...but it wouldnt change her behavior. taking favorite things away (like tv or computer time) works better. my fav punishment comes from my parents...for siblings fighting with each other...they have to sit on the couch and hold hands for a period of time. they hate it, and i think it's funny.
    penni bentley

  5. I have trouble with this, too. I am reading now, "Parenting With Love and Logic" and it's a really good book. I am beginning to use this strategy on my two young ones. I wish I had read this book 15 years ago when Sam was a little boy.