When my dad used to say this ‘this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you’, prior to handing out discipline and punishment, I didn’t understand it. Yes, my parents were belt discipliners. I can honestly say that it was always their LAST RESORT and was reserved for the worst of infractions and bad behaviors. It didn’t happen often, but it happened. But now that I am a parent, I understand what he meant – fully…
I had to discipline my son last night. I had a complete flashback to how my parents handled discipline in our home. My son told a lie – not a big one, but a small one. And its not the first one like that. So I flashed back and lost my mind. I lashed out at him physically. My son while only 11 is a bit more than 5 ft tall. I predict that by next year’s end, he’ll be my full height (5’5″) or taller. I say that to help you understand that our window of teaching him is closing fast. When I saw this photo, it immediately reminded me of my son. Tall, handsome, and defiant at that moment.
His physical discipline was followed immediately with the ‘punishment’ to reinforce the message. It was imperative to teach a lesson and reinforce with consequences. At least I think we got that part right. Our desire was to teach the life lesson before he had to ‘live’ the lesson.
My husband and I know that its imperative that our son understand a few things: (1) he’s a terrible liar – when you do something wrong and you do it badly that’s a hint! Don’t do it! (2) No such thing as a small lie – they always require bigger ones as follow up; (3) Lies NEVER have an impact on just one person; (4) Lies ruin relationships, careers, and lives.
Because our son wants to be a scientist, a myrmecologist (the study of ants in the entomology world) no doubt, its important that we teach him that a lie (small or big) could derail his entire academic and/or scientific career! Regardless of what he ultimately becomes, this is a lesson he HAS to grasp and grasp NOW!
Discipline is important. How you do it is just as important. My son is without his iPhone until Christmas. For today, no video games or other electronic stimulation. So he’s curled up reading the 5th Harry Potter book next to me in my bed while I write this post. We’ve had our ‘connection conversation’. You know where you make sure they understand why they are being punished and confirm they got the intended lesson.
Don’t leave discipline out of your child rearing tools. It’s important on so many levels. But be a smart parent and an even smarter teacher about the important lessons of life!