Friday, November 12, 2010

Discipline Done Wrong

As most of us know being a parent is the toughest job we will ever do and there is no single right way to do it nor is there any sort of actual instruction guide. We just blindly do what we think is right, deal with situations on the fly, perhaps refer to a book written by a doctor or "professional" and hope our kid or ourselves doesn't end up in therapy.

The one thing I do know that is that we are doing it wrong.

The bed time issue that I have talked about numerous times on here and even Not Raising Brats was kind enough to seek advice for me, has turned into a nightmare. And Phillip and I are realizing we both are at odds with one another in how to handle the situation and the correct way to discipline Sophie and correct the behavior.

We aren't coming to blows with one another about the issue but we are doing things two different ways which is causing it's own conflict. Here's the deal:

Most evenings, regardless of who pick's Sophie up from daycare, we are at the house around 5:45p.m. Dinner is being prepped or cooked by 6 p.m., we are eating and cleaning up between 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. Then the bedtime preparations begin.

Some nights we get protest other nights the bath part goes smoothly but everything else falls apart. I'm trying to get Sophie to bed (like in bed, kisses given, books read, lights out) by 8 p.m.

The average adult who doesn't hate kids should realize that 2 hours with your offspring just isn't enough time. So what this had lead to several times of the past few weeks is a complete meltdown-for Sophie and Mama. I'm fighting with Sophie to take her bath or wash her hair. Then we are fighting to get a pull-up and her jammies on. Then we are fighting over how many books to read.

The night I started writing this post I had given Sophie a "sink-bath" and when it was time to get out she protested. I stood my ground and got her out of the sink. She only wanted to play more. So after a tantrum to and from her bedroom, some attempted intervention from Phillip, I just gave in and put her back in the sink. This was at 8 p.m. This wasn't just a simple disagreement. It was a battle of wills. She was screaming, I was screaming, Phillip was now trying to step calmly out of the situation. As Sophie gleefully played with bubbles in the sink I bawled on the floor-so exhausted and clueless about how to really handle the situation.

We finally got Sophie out of the sink, in her PJs, and ready for bed. At this point I was so upset at myself for treating her the way I did and I knew she would continue the fight once it was actually time for her to get in bed we let her sleep with me for a while. I went to bed with her at 8:30p.m. or so.

This leads to the second complication of this whole ordeal. I've been up since 5 a.m., at work and in traffic all day, exhausted, haven't seen Phillip or even decompressed and then I'm going to bed early to appease Sophie and let sleep take care of my problems. All very counter productive.

So this is what I'd like to know: how do YOU deal with discipline? Phillip tries to be firm and set the boundaries but I'm so exhausted and don't have the time nor energy to deal I just given in. We are working at odds with one another.

What do you do? What tricks have you learned? What books written by experts have you read that have helped?

*I started this post on 11/5. Since then we have had less struggles but haven't resolved how to deal with disciplining a 2.5 year old.


k said...

Gah. I was just thinking about this this morning.

We do time-outs (2-3 mins in length). We'll usually start by asking him twice (twice because I once read that toddlers have a really hard time breaking concentration) to make sure he heard us, followed by a pointed look, then count 1-2-3 and if he's not doing what we've asked by 3--then it's time-out.

I try to give him encouragement with "I know what an awesome listener you can be!" and some times we have days, even weeks!, without time-outs and sometimes it's not even 8am before he's been plopped in the dining room chair.

After having One of Those Mornings, I tried to make myself feel better that my end goal of all this is to not have a defiant 13 year old or, later, an obnoxious 35 year old.


Hillary said...

I totally understand the defeat -- and realize I'm way late to this post, so you might have already figured it out -- but let me just encourage you to stick to your guns! I know it's hard. I know it feels like you just picked up your kid and your tossing them away to bed. I know you feel like a mean momma.

But you're not being mean. You're teaching your daughter about functioning in a world without boundaries. You're teaching her to behave like a civilized human being.

Repeat after me: I am the MOM. I am the boss.