Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Discipline Q & (hopefully some) A

Before I close out the discipline series (I have one or two more posts in me), I want to ask you if you have any questions for me about this topic. You can either ask them in a comment below, or if you'd like it to be more private, you can always email me. I love getting personal emails, by the way. So, any questions?

Now, here's mine. Did you know I'd be doing some asking too? Since I don't know everything about discipline and training up these fair children of mine (Wait, what?? I know, you thought I did), I have a question for YOU. I try to be a constant learner, and I'd love some new ideas on this wall I keep hitting with my kids. I feel the most frustrated in one area: they don't put their stuff where it belongs (GASP! I know. I'm sure I'm the only one.) Whether it be shoes kicked off after school, dirty clothes, wet towels, trash, you name it, rarely does anything of theirs end up in the proper place without my asking them to put it there. For the millionth day in a row. It seems that no matter the praises for the successes or threats for the mistakes, the problem remains. For those of you with kids older than mine, maybe you can help me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Is there one? Is this a maturity thing? Because I seem to believe that a six and nine year old should be able to put clothes either on a hanger or in the hamper every day, and put shoes and backpacks where they go after school. But no, nothing's working, so help!

I will try to answer the questions I get from you friends, but just know that I may say, "I don't know!" I have so much to learn still. The reason I am offering to field questions AT ALL is simply because I know I may be one small step ahead of some of you in these matters, and therefore have some humble offering. That's all. And the same goes for you. You are surely one step ahead of someone in your life in terms of parenting or your faith or whatever else. Don't be afraid to offer to that person the bits of wisdom and experience that you have. God may want to use you.  

If you are new here and want to catch up on the series, check out the February archive list on the sidebar and start with the post called "Discipline, Let's Talk."

Looking forward to hearing from you!



  1. oh my!! the putting away of stuff! that's my question too! also, i don't know if this counts as discipline, but my two boys are WII obsessed!! i honestly want to throw the thing in the garbage. we homeschool and i feel like it would be way too much of a distraction during the week, so they're limited to playing it on the weekend. but honestly i feel like it's all they want to do, the only thing that they really care about. it's frustrating to me because we're not gamers/lazy people. what should i do so they're not so obsessed!?? help!

  2. Well, clearly I have no experience disciplining children that are the age of your chidren (I only claim experience for 24 months and younger), but I did recently read the book "Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours" which could be helpful in this situation with picking up stuff. The book really emphasizes natural, "reality" consequences for behavior. It should be something clearly related to the misbehavior that causes them to not want to repeat it. So the first thing that came to my mind was, sit down and tell them that from now on, when they leave "x, y, or z" where it doesn't belong, then you will clean it up. But as a result, you are going to put it where YOU want it, which is out of yours and their sight, and that they are not going to be permitted to have it again for 1 day, 2 days, whatever you want the length of time to be. If it's their bookbag, this could be bad for them when going to school, which may be hard for you as a parent - but it would definitely teach them a lesson. Likewise with shoes - if it is a pair of shoes they wear on a regular basis, losing those shoes for a couple days may make life a wee bit difficult. The idea is that they will learn that these behaviors result in natural, undesirable consequences that they don't want repeated.

    I have no idea if this would work, as I've never put anything like it into practice, but based on what I learned in the book, that's what I'd suggest. :)

  3. Oh man. My 15 year old is vey responsible. This kid will do extra credit in every class even though she has over 100% in almost all her very difficult classes. She sometimes keeps me organized! Recently, she started leaving her stuff everywhere. Drives me crazy. After reading up on it, it is developmental. Kids are in the here and now...I take my shoes off here, they stay here. So, I've started asking them once, and then I put them up in my closet and they have to do something to get it back. We are making it a game to keep things happy. To be honest, I haven't seen much change yet, but I keep telling myself they are in the absent minded adolescent stage and I better enjoy it because they will be off to college soon! :)

    I've mentioned this to you through email, Leslie, but I wanted to publicly say that I've loved this series. The thought, honesty, practicality, and Jesus spirituality you've put into your posts is refreshing, encouraging, challenging, and inspiring. Thanks for sharing your parenting skills with us. It is evident that you take your mommy role very serious. I love it!

  4. Hi there... So, my daughter is 9 and my son is 6 as well. We are living a similar life. I have really loved reading your thoughts on discipline and I especially connected with what you wrote about how we get irritable with their childishness. I always felt it was wrong in my spirit, but this helped me define it and identify the root causes of my reaction.
    I seriously struggle with grace, having grown up in an incredibly legalistic church. So it is a process for me too.
    As for a question, I know you said your daughter is "fiesty" and I'm wondering about her reactions to your discipline. For as long as I can remember, my daughter has gotten so upset and dramatic when a consequence is passed out, it makes me not even want to do it. I fear the reaction. Terrible, really. She has definitely matured some in this area over time, but I always find parenting talks don't always discuss what to do when the child has disobeyed, you hand out a punishment in a controlled way, and the kid flips out and causes herself to be in deeper and deeper trouble for her reaction to the consequence. It just seems like people expect the kid to calmly accept the consequence. NOT IN MY HOME. She goes down fighting! I hate the scene that escalates and the fury I feel at her dramatics.
    How do I work with her to help her to accept her fate more graciously and maturely?
    Thanks so much!

  5. We set up a "family corporation" that all works together for the best of the family. My kids have a chart of chores and various responsibilities (even as simple as unloading their lunchbox after school) that they get paid a nickel a piece for (it adds up fast). More involved chores are a quarter. They get paid on Fridays.

    We ask them periodically through the day if they are up on their jobs. If they leave stuff out, I ask them if they want to hire a maid to clean it up. They have never once hired a maid. Maids (mom & dad) charge thrice the price of doing it themselves.

    We want to teach them a good work ethic and that they can choose how to spend or not spend the money they earn. If they want to hire a maid instead of buy a toy or game, it's up to them and we don't have to nag. We have periodic reviews to discuss how they're doing in the family corporation... what they're doing great with and where they need to improve. :)