Editor’s Note: A version of this post was shared in ConnectVille (Connected’s family group) and many of us thought it should be converted to a post on Breakpoint. Insightful!
My two cents on lessons I have learned on discipline while parenting so far celebrating 10years of motherhood – Idara Akpan
On using the cane, we discuss common offences and how to deal with it so it doesn’t reoccur. We start with, 2strokes for whatever offence is tagged. But negotiations come in when there are repetitions. It just means 2strokes didn’t just cut it. And they have the opportunity to explain why it should remain 2. Canes really came in handy when mean words invaded our house. We had a season where words like “idiot”, “stupid”, etc got picked up from school and we had to drop them with Dr Do Good. I never use the words and I don’t want them to learn to, would be harder to drop them, later. (I am also raising future wives and mothers, you know).
In more recent times, during our family devotion time, we discuss what character traits we learned from what was read in the Bible; ones we are working on individually and then we hold ourselves accountable when it happens again including myself.
I feel my major turning point with them has been my ability to apologise for wrong attitudes(impatience at their mistakes and mornings when we are pressed for time and I snap at sluggishness). They have learned to do same and the fact that we can talk about anything. And the second rule is if you are not sure if to go ahead with a task, ask first. So we avoid heartbreaking assistance offered like when one of my girls helped me wash my laptop cos of a stain when she was almost 2years and when she trimmed her hair at 3years old after I had done that for my grandma.
We have also goals, what age they will start using make up(I am dealing with girls, one turned 10 yesterday and the other is 6) to when a book will be finished, even to when she will get into a relationship (believe me, I push it as further down as I can reasonably do) though as they grow, the sex education becomes more explained, etc. And because of the inclusion in decision-making in the home and great rewards system, they find more ways to act more responsible.
We just started the maturity percentage stuff. They score points when I get my turn with the TV without a dramatic handover (which happens a lot if I asked ahead of time and we negotiated how many minutes before I would take over), when chores are done without a reminder, when there is no fuss for nap times (20-30mins before time information helps a lot), when schedules are adhered to; and lose points when they are called and they don’t come immediately, when any of them gets struck with the restless virus syndrome, every child has it especially toddlers, when a selfish attitude is displayed and tantrum displays. Pluses and minuses determine recreation, gadgets, and outings time. They are currently on 30%.
Also asking them for my “me” time increases my level of sanity and reduces my impatient levels on stressful days and I try to take naps. Stress really affects parenting and sends wrong vibes. I tell them, mummy is exhausted and needs to rest and we decide on what they get to do when I am sleeping and if they should wake me by so and so time if I am not up yet.
Disclaimer: This sounds like I have it all figured out (I wish). I am still learning and working on the chill pill project. I have invisible white hairs sometimes just trying to cope with the evolving dramas, injuries demanding stitches, fractures, etc as they grow and with our discussions. It is necessary though difficult to maintain a calm disposition and just listen when deep inside of me, I have flipped out and my patience is no longer hanging by a thread but by grace. I have already started intensifying my prayers for their teenage years. This is a working, single mom’s perspective. Might be different from yours. Do your part, find what works for you, when you falter, take responsibility, don’t make excuses and decide to be better next time. I wasn’t like this 3 years ago and I won’t be like this next year. We can only get better.