Discipline is the worst. Why can’t kids just come out of the womb obeying all the rules? The old adage “it hurts me more than it hurts you” is so true (as a kid I thought this was total BS). It’s such a contradiction – you want to punish kids so they stop their bad behavior, but then you don’t actually want to punish them. Ugghh!
Brogan is and has been quite the little button-pusher. The threat of discipline rarely deters him – we actually have to follow through. Admittedly, my husband is better at this than I am (so while he may be a participant, he is definitely the enforcer!). It’s not that I let Brogan get away with murder, but I think I empathize with him when I can tell he is really remorseful. A typical exchange goes something like this:
Me: “Time to take a bath – go take your clothes off and put them in your hamper”
Brogan: “I don’t want to take a bath”
Me: “Well it’s bath time”
Brogan: [running around like a crazed lunatic, not getting undressed or putting his clothes in the hamper]
Me: “That’s one [trying to implement the 1-2-3 Magic technique], if I get to three, you’re going straight to bed”
Brogan: “I don’t want to at all!”
Me: “That’s two. I mean it, if I get to three!”
Me: “Alright, that’s three. You’re going straight to bed after your bath!”
Brogan: “No!!!! I want to be a good listener. Please, please mommy! I don’t want to go straight to bed!”
It doesn’t end here. It turns into a spiraling tirade of screaming and crying, where in an effort to stop that bad behavior, we count down the loss of all his favorite bed things – his big dog, his little dog, his special blanket, and one of his pillows. He misses a snack, extra cuddle time and his door gets closed. You could insert my husband for me, and the scenario is similar (except that Blake is a little more efficient with his ones, two and threes). Brogan is pitiful – and it just breaks my heart. But the little guy just can’t control himself when the tantrum starts. All the chances in the world and he only finds remorse when it’s too late. I know it’s the right thing to do, and part of him one day being a productive member of society is hinged on us teaching him that there are consequences to bad behavior. But right now, when my little guy is upstairs, crying my name, telling me he needs me, my heart just breaks. So like I said before, I don’t actually want punish him. But I have to and it sucks. Parenting is not easy.