Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Discipline? What's that?

I was talking to B my Mary Kay rep today and she was telling me about a play group she goes to with her 15 month old daughter. The kids play for 2 hours in one room with supervision, while the moms listen to a guest speaker in another room. B said one speaker talked about saying "no" to your child and setting boundaries. I always find this to be an interesting topic.

When Kara was in her teens she had her own phone. Well, it was actually my phone that she dragged into her room at night. At 2:00am or 3:00am the phone would RING and Kara would chat with her friends for hours. Eventually my mother would yell, "Kara! Get off the phone! It's 2am! If you get one more call at this hour I am pulling that phone out of the wall!!!!!!" Well, it happened about a million times after the first time and nothing ever happened. Kara's lesson? Mom can threaten but she really won't do what she says.

When I became a mother I vowed to follow through with any threats that I made. I never made insane threats, "If you don't behave in this restaurant then you will never go out with us again." That's not realistic at all. Once when Lillianna didn't behave in Wendy's during our weekly lunch before dance class with her dance friends, I said, "If you don't sit down and finish your lunch then next week we will not meet your friends for lunch. You can sit home having a peanut butter sandwich and imagine your friends having fun without you." Lillianna just looked at me for one quick second and then sat her butt down. She knows that threat is a promise.

I have seen too many mothers who give their kids a million chances to listen and yet the child still does whatever he/she wants to do. I don't have the kind of patience it takes to raise a consistently disobedient child. I know Lillianna is going to push the limits, time and time again, and that is fine with me. I want her to have her own opinion but for now she needs to follow my rules. And for the most part, she does.

Do you set boundaries? Do you follow through with discipline?

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