Do you have hard and fast rules? Do you have consistency? Do you follow through on every threat? Do you feel bad if you don’t?
Or are you like us? Just winging it.
I would say our ‘strategy’ if you can even call it that, is an amalgamation of how we were disciplined as kids, coupled with a few snippets I have picked up from watching episodes of Supernanny 10 years ago (pre kids) all rolled together with some sticker charts (that last about a week) and an abundance of empty threats.
We also have a ‘naughty step’ that gets used occasionally. I know…...we are not supposed to say the ‘n’ word because this apparently traumatises them, BUT… it kind of just happened one day and then the name just stuck.
Our ‘punishment’ threats consist of removing an extensive lists of privileges like toys, treats, trips, tv, clothes, christmas presents, parties, McDonald's…. The list goes on.
Ultimately these ‘threats’ are made up on the spot, without any previous warning, however we are kind enough to add the ‘three strike rule’.... So to speak.
This is all very well in principle, but then comes the hard bit.
Actually following through!!
The thing is, what no one really tells you before you have kids is that discipline is actually, emotionally really hard. To watch their tiny faces crumple into sheer despair is actually not a very nice feeling, whether it’s deserved or not.
Take yesterday, for example. We went to Sainsburys to get our daughter some new school uniform. We know this isn’t the most exciting jaunt for a 5 & 3 year old, so the deal was, if they were really good, and listened to Mummy and Daddy we would go to McDonalds for lunch afterwards.
Sounds fair enough. However….. All the kids hear is ‘ we are going to McDonald's for lunch’.
Its one of those of situations where, the words have no sooner left your mouth before you are regretting them, but it’s so hard to take it back. There is also that optimistic part of you that thinks, well the rules have been made abundantly clear….thus meaning if you have to carry out this promise of no McDonalds, you will feel no guilt whatsoever… not one bit… nope.
Buuuut, when the inevitable happens, which is the kids not listening, running around in different directions and whining about everything in the shop that they want you to buy them, and you give them their final warning of ‘ if you do that one more time we are NOT going to McDonalds’.
Do they listen? Nope.
They carry on and then half an hour later, (despite at least three ‘Right we are going STRAIGHT home, NO McDonalds!’) there they are, sat on the living room floor, chowing down on their ‘happy meals’, happy as pigs in sh*t.
Why are we so weak?
If we had denied them their precious Happy Meal and crap plastic toy, this would have resulted in at least 30 mins of full on sobbing from one (or both) children. I’m not even talking about a bratty tantrum either. I’m talking sheer and absolute…. devastation!! Their hearts will be crushed, their lives ruined, and the person responsible…. Is YOU!
Sometimes, as a parent, the truth is…. You just can’t be arsed to argue. That’s pretty much about the size of it.
I’m not saying all our threats are empty, not at all, but sometimes you have to pick your battles and not make your life even more difficult than it already is, just to make a point…..to a 5 year old.
It’s not always worth it.
So, Super Nannies of the ideal world, yes your strategies are fantastic for the 3 days you are there to implement them, but sometimes, when your weekend has already been tarnished by your husbands bike being nicked, a shit nights sleep because of a poorly child, a cancelled Asda delivery and an awful Ofsted report from your daughters school…… you just can’t be bothered.
There…. I said it!!! We all do it, right??
In my eyes this does not make you a bad parent.
It just makes you human.