As a parent, discipline is not my strong suit. I know this about myself. I also know that discipline is important and needed. I know children need and desire boundaries. I also know children need to learn to behave and be disciplined so that they can grow into functioning adults. I realize my job as a parent is to one day send my child out into the world as an adult, and I hope at that time I have done my work and send to the world a responsible person capable of caring for herself without me there to do it for her. I also take great joy in my children, and I also want others to enjoy them too, which will not happen if they have no discipline at all.
My oldest is 3.5 now. This means discipline is becoming more and more important.
To finally get rid of her pacifier (after several misfires in taking it away), I told her when she turned a certain age, pacifiers became against the law, and I had to give it to the police. I actually heard my own voice saying:
“Just like it’s the law we have to ride in a carseat, just like it’s the law we have to buckle up, it’s the law kids your age cannot have a paci. I’m sorry. I know it’s sad, and I know you love your paci. But I had to give it to the police. It’s the law.”
“But what did the police do with my paci, Mommy. What did they DO with it???”
A valid question, I must admit.
I recognized this moment as a total parenting fail. For one, I should have taken the paci long before. And for another, I should have done it myself, instead of passing the blame to the po-pos (although the rebel in me doesn’t mind instilling a little questioning of authority in my littles but I digress).
I realized, okay, I have to do something. I have to be in charge. I have to be the adult. I must have back bone. I have to discipline my child. Because it is good and right for her.
So, I did what I often do when faced with parenting issues I do not know the answer to. I reached out to my friends whose parenting I trust and said HELP ME I WILL RAISE A TINY TERRORIST IF I DON’T CHANGE. WHAT DO I DO.
This was initially received as bad news because my mother had been telling me to read this book for years and don’t you just hate it when YOUR MOTHER IS ALWAYS RIGHT?
But I swallowed my pride, and I read the book.
Let me preface this review by saying, the book is overly preachy and way over the top in self praising its own teachings.
But with that caveat, if you can tolerate all of its self-patting on the back, this book could LITERALLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
It has provided me tools and ideas for how to parent that make sense, and that I hope will help me raise responsible children who grow into responsible adults.
It is very helpful for people like me who have difficulty with discipline, and it is also VERY helpful for people who overly discipline and find themselves in constant control battles with their children.
The basic idea is very simple. It’s that if we trust our children to make small choices when they are little, they will grow to learn to make big decisions as they get older.
It also recognizes one of the worst truths of parenting: you cannot actually force another person to do anything, even a child. This book encourages parents to focus on what they can control, for example: where the child does their behavior, rather than what you cannot control: the behavior itself.
It also routinely stresses the idea that we have to love our children. We empathize and have emotion with them and should discipline without anger but with firmness. These are concepts I agree with.
Some of the concepts in the book felt a little harsh to me. But overall, I have learned several tools from it that are helping me mold my little big kid.
I would love to know what any of you think of this book.
What has worked? What doesn’t?
I give it a thumbs up from me and recommend it to anyone with children.