Family Life

Disciplining Kids While Keeping Your Cool

The other day, my 10 year old and I had, what can only be described as, a ‘slagging match’. The more she answered me back, the more angry I got and the more I shouted! I was listening to myself shouting while thinking ‘what are you doing?’. It’s so hard to control yourself in the heat of the moment and stop yourself saying something you don’t mean. I’ve decided that I need a plan in place, in my head, ready for these situations because girls are manipulative from an early (I’m talking 18 months!) age! They are quick with their responses, excuses are their specialty, and they can make up (seemingly well rehearsed) answers to anything in seconds- certainly faster than my brain works!! I have a master, with her young apprentice, at work in my house and I need to keep on top of this! My standard (up-until-now) ‘because I said so’ just isn’t cutting it anymore, especially when I’m refereeing some sort of standoff between them, where they are both claiming to be the victim. J has likened them to Velociraptors, one keeps eye-contact while the other takes you out from the side, metaphorically speaking of course! The Boy however, is far more simple, he does wrong, I tell him off, he admits it, naughty step, sorry, kiss and cuddle, job done! I hope it stays that way!!

One keeps eye contact, while the other takes you out!
One keeps eye contact, while the other takes you out!

(Really wanted ‘Barbie’ to represent me but she failed the interview by not being able to stand!- Dora is probably more apt anyway…..)

So, what do I do?

I don’t believe in smacking. I don’t remember being smacked (only because I cried and apologised with the threat!), but my brother was smacked all the time and his standard response was, ‘Didn’t hurt’, which enraged my dad beyond belief! Consequently, I have only smacked my middle child on one occasion, on the bottom (she was a ‘lye on the floor, kicking and screaming’ type of child) and felt so guilty and ashamed, I have never done it again. It was in front of her sister, whom I had to explain myself to. I apologised to both and explained to my then 5 year old that I had gotten so angry that I had done something that I didn’t mean to do and that it made me feel so bad inside that I would never do it again. I haven’t, but now it’s more controlling my words as they spill out of my mouth, with out my brain’s consent, when I’m pushed beyond my limits!!

Apologise and admit when you are wrong, you expect your children to!

I think I did the right thing, apologising for my behaviour to my children. I expect them to apologise if they do something wrong and if I don’t, then they will think that behavior is acceptable and mimic it in future. I also don’t think it a bad thing to admit you’re not perfect, they’ll find out soon enough, right?!! 😉

So, here are my tips on disciplining, based on what has worked for me:

  • Naughty step- love it! But before they were old enough to sit and ‘think about what they had done’, we used to put them on our lap, facing away, holding them firmly (but not tightly) so they were restrained and tell them why they had to sit there- they hated it!
  • Don’t threaten something you can’t follow through, like ‘if you carry on, you are not coming on holiday next week’ sounds like a great threat but as they get older, they will realize that there is no way you’ll leave them!
  • Think ‘short-term’ punishment- saying on Monday that the punishment will be not having ice-cream at the weekend, is too far away for them to comprehend. It has a far greater effect if you think of something more immediate. However, with older children, this can work as it gives a chance to earn something back, though I would still keep it to only 2 or 3 days away.
  • Removal of favourite toys/ things to do- this has only become effective now that they are older (ipads etc). When they were younger, it just felt too cruel to take their favourite toy (which was also a comforter) and caused such uproar that the original crime was forgotten! Non-favourites were just ineffective! Removing TV was more of a punishment for me!
  • Never take away the chance to regain the removed item- earning it back has often gained me a tidy house (at least their room), no-fuss homework or offers of extra chores!

What has worked for you? Do you have any tips for me and my quick-witted tweenagers (a term I picked up that describes them well!)? I can’t see it getting easier any time soon!!

Diary of an imperfect mum

Pink Pear Bear

28 thoughts on “Disciplining Kids While Keeping Your Cool

  1. Great post and I love your dinosaur representation! Hehe! We tried the naughty step, but that was an enjoyable and somewhat rebellious place to sit as I have always said no playing near the stairs. The Mr dog gets it route didn’t have any impact at all either and Little Button happily scooped up more toys to put up in the wardrobe (they will love their new house.. she said!). LOL… what to do? #FamilyFun

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    1. If we are at a friends house, we will just have a ‘naughty spot’ which can be anywhere. I have friends who use one of those steps for the kids to reach the sink, as a ‘naughty step’. Little Button sounds like my girls- an answer for everything! Good luck with that…..;) xx

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  2. Oh I found myself nodding along to this in complete agreement – Ive also been disappointed with my behaviour at times so have too apologised – I think its a good lesson to be honest. I thunk if you put most of the hard work in now and set the boundaries which are reasonable it will get easier as they become older – it is very rare that I have such a stand off now – they know what is right and wrong – hard effort and consistency does eventually pay off – I promise! #familyfun

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    1. Thanks. I think it’s more pride when they get older and wanting to be their own person. It’s getting that balance of authority and being reasonable. I find it the hardest part of parenting! xx

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  3. Another great post! I haven’t got any kids myself (yet! Arriving in September) but I have 10 nephews and nieces that I regularly look after, so this is all really useful stuff. I totally agree in the powers of the naughty step, and that you should never threaten something that you can’t follow through with! #FamilyFun

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  4. We have been trying to cool down a situation with following through with what we set as a consequence but I love the idea that they can regain something back later if they are behaving well! It’s such a good balance of teaching them not to be bad and praising them when they behave! Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips! #Familyfun

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  5. Totally agree with the short term punishment and then sticking to the threat. I just say sorry that’s a rule. End of conversation – in our house rules are rules. When doing my teacher truing I learned never to get into an argument with a child. I am very clear – that is the rule, end of story. TY for linking up to #FamilyFun 🎉

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  6. I can really identify with this! My husband and I have just been having a conversation about what we do next with behaviour. We do time out/naughty step, removing items/priveledges and counting out, as well as reasoning and rewarding, but still seem to have a daily struggle! I’m currently trying to guide them by giving more appropriate words to use instead of shouting/answering back rudely, and we are both trying to shout less ourselves, but it is very hard! #FamilyFun

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    1. Glad I’m not the only one! I actually work with children and have never lost my cool with them- it’s just my own that really know how to push my buttons!! Xx

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  7. I do find myself losing my temper more in the evenings when we are both tired. No words of wisdom, just recognise your own trigger points (mine is certainly tiredness) and try and defuse rather than have a full on battle, it leaves everyone scarred, lol.xx

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    1. Absolutely! That’s exactly what we do and it worked well (and continues to with the Boy) until K became around 8 years old and the ‘answering back’ started! As they get older, new strategies are needed- at least for girls! Hope your house rules continue to work for you- I think you are right to be strict and stick to your guns, it pays off in future! I think mine would be much more of a handful if I hadn’t been strict at the start. xx

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    1. Yes and it depends on their personality and stage of development. I could reason with K from very early on but Lou just ‘saw red’ and tantrumed- there was no reasoning with her until much later on! xx

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  8. I think these are great tips, that I will take on board now I have a demanding threenager! Even though he’s only 3 I’m still trying to control his tantrums and behaviour, especially before baby number 2 arrives! x

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    1. Thank goodness i’m past the tantrums! I had one tantrum queen out of the three, the only way I could deal with her was to ignore her! I really tried everything and that was the most effective. Luckily, she didn’t throw things or do anything dangerous, she used to just kick and scream on the floor!! Good luck! xx

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