Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Invisible Disciplinarian

I really had no idea what I was getting into nearly two years ago when Braden was born. I had no idea how to feed a baby. I had never changed a diaper. I didn't have the first idea how to get a baby to sleep through the night. It was all foreign ground to me. My "Life as a New Dad" would be a trial by fire, and I think this blog has always shown that to be true.

Lately I have been especially overwhelmed by love and amazement for our little man Braden. The teachers at his school/daycare are always singing his praises. He is the only kid in his class that feeds himself. He is actually helping teach the other kids to be more vocal because of how well he speaks and verbalizes his wants and needs.

He is the absolute light of our world. Even a moment away from him seems so much more dull and dreary.  Watching his growth has been amazing. Watching his mind decipher so many things is a wonder, but even amidst this amazing journey of love and rainbows I have developed a problem.

Braden doesn't listen to me at all.

I always thought my kids would listen to everything I said. My word would be like some sort of law from on high. No one would question my authority. I would have the final say. I guess I envisioned myself as some sort of disciplinarian.

I have never been more incorrect about anything in my life.

Braden and I are the best of friends. We play from the moment I get home until bedtime every day. We play with his ever growing collection of cars and "Cars". We have Doc, Sally, Mater, Mack, Lightning McQueen, and Sheriff. We play baseball. We play basketball. We chase each other around the house tickling, wrestling, and acting just plain silly.

When it comes time for discipline, however, I might as well be a stranger at the mall. Braden will look at me for a second and then continue on doing exactly what I forbid. It happens pretty much every time.

When Arica speaks, Braden listens. She uses the timeout technique to perfection to keep Braden in line. He rarely disobeys her.

So here I am the parent that is taken lightly. I never would have guessed that. I know I have to start being more consistent with timeouts. I have also learned from Arica that I need to work on my tone of voice and my general attitude towards disciplining Braden. My methods aren't conducive to teaching and mostly just challenge Braden and irritate him.

To say that my son is independent and a little stubborn is like saying The Empire State Building is tall. The way I approach him often stirs his need to resist and maintain his independence. In order to fix this problem I have to change my methods. I must work much harder to find ways to get through to Braden.

This has been bothering me a lot lately. Thank the good Lord I have Arica to help me figure this all out. Otherwise I would be fighting tooth and nail with Braden for another 16 years.

Well, I'm sure we'll still fight our fair share, but at least with Arica's help I might win a few here and there.


SurprisedMom said...

It's easy to love a child, but very, very hard to discipline that loved child. I know. In our house it was reversed. My husband was the disciplinarian, or as he as described himself many a time, "The Bad Guy." Yes, I disciplined the children as well, but I had to learn, too. It's the hardest part of being a parent. I sympathize.

Maybe it's the same gender thing going on? My girls often looked at me as if I spoke to them in Chinese and then proceeded to do what they were doing. When I was at my breaking point with them, I admit it, I used the phrase, "Do I need to call your father." It always worked.

As you thank God for Arica, I have always thanked God for The Mister.

Katherine said...

I think you and I are on the same page on this one. Ethan fights me on everything. He does not listen to me at all!

Brandy@YDK said...

good luck! Grayson is gonna have som eissues. I'm not really that great at being consistent with my discipline.

Braden is lucky he has you and Arica

Manic Mommy said...

I remember lamenting to my husband that our boys aren't even "a little bit afraid" of us. I don't them to be scared but maybe just a healthy respect, like fire.

I think you'll find as Braden moves through his terrible twos into the even-worse threes that he'll stop listening to Arica as well.

The good news is eventually he will start listening to both of you - just not all the time.

Consistency really is key.

Otter Thomas said...

@manicmommy: I put my money on Arica adjusting well to each stage. I, however, often find myself just along for the ride.

WeaselMomma said...

We all struggle with this one at some time or another. Keep following Arica's lead. If you set a good foundation for discipline now it will serve you well in the years to come.

PJ Mullen said...

I feel your pain. My son yelled back "Papa do it" when I told him to clean up the cheerios he had spilled all over the floor. My first reaction was to toss him in his crib and let him know I wasn't kidding. Instead I resorted to the "you can't play with your favorite toy" until the floor is clean. That appeared to motivate him.

Brian Miller said...

i am glad i have my wife as well to help in this area...we balance each other out well...and switch roles when we need to..

Always Home and Uncool said...

Ugh. Discipline sucks. As a result, I sometimes lapse into yelling parent mode. I'm not proud of that. But, it seems to work when it has to.

Sigh. Now I feel all guilty again. This never ends.

Father Knows (Travis) Best said...

Have you tried sarcasm?

Just kidding.