WT 155: Discipline 2.0 - The Middle Years


Resources and Links from this episode:

Karen’s Kansas event

BOAW Curriculum: Mom Core, Says Who?, Six Truths

Parenting by the Book by John Rosemund

Hello moms! Welcome to part two of a three part series we’re doing all about discipline. Last week we kicked things off by talking about the purpose and the why of discipline in general and spent time answering your questions about how to discipline your kids when they are in those early years - if you missed that episode be sure to go back and take a listen to it.  Today we’re moving on to the next phase of discipline - those middle years.

Question 1: What helped you guide what battles to pick as your kids got older (elementary age) or what behaviors you gave consequences for?
Karen’s Answer: I tried to focus on the bigger issues like lying, doing their best, having a kind heart toward others, not being prideful or thinking they were better than others.  I tried to let go, boogers on the wall, a child that didn’t want to get up early for school, just rolled out of bed and went to school with messy hair and possibly the same jeans they wore the day before.  Greg and I for sure gave consequences on lying, cheating, disrespect or temper tantrums, being lazy with school work.  But those consequences at this age, were more physical, run laps, pull weeds, extra chores, writing sentences. I tried to think of things that would stick with my child. Speak with your spouse about the big things that are important to you and your family.  Get a game plan together.

Question 2: I need some discipline options for my 8 year old! He is too old to spank and grounding/taking away something doesn't really seem to phase him.
Karen’s Answer: Put him to work around the house.  Turn off the t.v. his games, etc. and put him to work. Sweep out the garage, shoveling dirt, put it in a wheelbarrow then move it to one area to another, pull weeds, pick up sticks in the yard, cutting the grass, etc.  I would get him tired. Don’t be afraid to put him to work.  Keep him busy.

Question 3: Kids are going to talk back and speak disrespectfully at times. I know it’s not ok. But do I say, “Lets try that again” when they speak that way and enforce a consequence if it continues? Or is it best to immediately enforce a consequence right away every time? I have high expectations and don’t want to lower them, but I also realize that kids are going to make mistakes every day just like I do. Trying to find balance in discipline!
Karen’s Answer: I used to say, “let’s try that again”.  I think sometimes we have to gently remind them, “Hey! Remember who you are talking to here.”  They get used to speaking to their friends and then speak to us the same way. I used to tell my children, “I’m not your friend. Don’t speak to me that way.” If it keeps up, give a consequence but allow them to adjust. Keep on keeping balance, that is a good thing.

Question 4: How to do you handle a situation in which the consequence impacts everyone? (i.e. putting child in timeout would makes us late to where we're going.)
Karen’s Answer: That is just the way it is. Sometimes when it affects everyone and the pushback they get from messing up the siblings schedule is the best punishment they can receive.  Siblings don’t mind telling their brother/sister that it’s not cool. All the time.  Sometimes discipline affected my “time” and messed up my plans but my first job was a mom.  So my plans had to be put to the side to drive home a point with my child. I realized that raising my child was the #1 goal and my “fun time” would have to wait.  Keep your end goal end mind. Be brave to do what you have to do.

Question 5: Attitude ruins so much of what we do. If we are not doing what they want to do my girls mope and in return makes us frustrated that we as parents ruins our time and attitude and we can’t rebound from it, it’s maddening. How do I punish that? Can you truly change an attitude when it feels more like a personality trait?
Karen’s Answer: I don’t think you can change a person’s attitude.  Only they can do that. You can send them to their room to be by themselves until they change their attitude.  Or you can get a sitter for them and the rest of the family go have a good time. Try not to tie your happiness to their moods. Your happiness shouldn’t be tied to everyone being happy. That is actually a lie we tell ourselves, “I cannot be okay or at peace if those around me are not okay.” The truth is: “My peace comes from the Lord, not others.” (John 14:27) and “As I trust Christ, his peace will guard my heart and mind.“ (Phil 4:6-7 ) Kelsey was my moody one, and at times Taylor.  I had to learn to be okay even if they were pouting. You have to renew your mind with truth and develop thick skin.

Question 6: My eldest daughter is eleven years old and from the time she was a toddler it has been a challenge to get her to obey simple rules. She does not like getting in trouble, if anything I think she is a bit of a people pleaser who also loves her independence. Sometimes she breaks rules that seem so obvious to me and her younger sisters understand. Like the other day she rode around the block without permission and when I asked her why she did it she replied that she thought she was aloud.  Now I was thinking that she is probably old enough to do so with a few guidelines in place, but the issue is I had never given her permission before. Also, I have been telling her for years that if something is not a toy or does not belong to her she needs to ask permission to use it. Yet, it is no rare occurrence that she will help herself to whatever around the house. I feel so strict and want to allow her some independence, but if I give her an inch I am afraid what all she will help herself to. I have experienced this in different ways with her, just when I relax in some area with her things go too far.  Her teacher this year described her as a gentle leader. I want to give her some freedom, but not have it go negative all the time because she took it too far. Any suggestions?
Karen’s Answer: I think what you are describing is very normal, and it sounds like you are doing a good job as far as letting her know she stepped out of line.  I don’t think you are being too strict, you are just being the mom. ☺ Let her know that you want to give her more freedom, but with freedom comes responsibility.  Teach her what that looks like. I would praise her when she does come and ask you if she can ride her bike around the block, and give her a consequence when she doesn’t ask for permission.  A consequence for the bike situation is to not let her ride her bike for a few days. The toy situation could be, if she takes a toy that is not her own then she has to give up one of her toys as a punishment.  This is the hard part of parenting to be honest, just being consistent. We think “they should know better”, and they probably do in their heart, but it takes years sometimes before we see big results.  Keep at it! I think all kids push these boundaries.  The classic, “I forgot”, “I didn’t know”, etc. excuses are normal.  Keep reminding yourself this is why you get paid the big bucks in being the parent! Keep being the parent.