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02 September 2014


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Barbara C.

Well, as you kind of know my marriage was a mess, and the discipline of the kids was something that was never consistent. It's hard to be preventative when you feel like you're always exhausted putting out fires.

Now that "the insanity" is out of the house, things are becoming more consistent over-all. But we all have so many bad habits of inconsistency, anger, disrespect, and disobedience.

I'm bookmarking this for thought...for how to try to be more proactive and less reactive.


Oh parenting philosophies! For infants and toddlers, I've always been APish. Then they become pre-school age and start asserting their little wills and I am adrift. (Aside here, I hate the term pre-school age. Is there something better to call it?)

I definitely yell too much and swat behinds, although I think limited behind swatting is useful at certain ages. I like to think I make up for the yelling with a good amount of physical affection.

"the discipline of the kids was something that was never consistent. It's hard to be preventative when you feel like you're always exhausted putting out fires."

That's the basic story here without a good reason for it. My own particular parenting struggles include not really being seen as an authority figure by the children. My requests are seen as optional until my husband steps in to make them mind which just undermines my authority again. I have to flip my top before they seem to think I am serious. So I don't know how to fix that.

I really like letting them experience natural consequences and encourage them to choose the good instead of fearing punishment.


Jenny, IME when Mom wants to assert authority, sometimes it's a good tactic to get quiet and serious -- deadly serious -- and make eye contact. Like, actually get up and go to where they are and sit down in front of them and make sure they're paying full attention and then say it. The dad tricks don't work for us nearly as well.

I say this as someone who gets out of the habit, lazily calling commands from across the room, and has to relearn it regularly. But eye contact, the "deadly serious" tone, and physical orientation of the child towards me and me toward the child does at least get their attention.

As an aside, have you ever read "Hold Onto Your Kids" by Neufeld and Maté? Very, very, very useful and eye-opening. A must read before the tween years hit seriously.


"I say this as someone who gets out of the habit, lazily calling commands from across the room, and has to relearn it regularly."

Guilty. I'm usually belting out commands while trying to do 15 other things at the same time. It's amazing what they will do if you actually take the time to do it with them or address them directly. I think getting in close physical proximity reduces how distracted they are.

I've not read the book, but from the blurb on Amazon it sounds like something I would find interesting. It seems the whole society works toward separating children from their parents. It starts innocently enough and with a grain of truth, that everyone needs a break sometimes, but it seems we devote all our energies to arranging the breaks rather than supporting the life which might cause the break to be necessary.

When my oldest was a newborn, I remember getting irrationally angry at my mother for suggesting I needed to start pumping so other people could feed her. Her concern was that I needed a break during the overnight hours. It seems like a little thing, but I think that idea grows into entire childhood structures that serve to separate families "for their own good."

Does this make sense or is this just a confused, hormonally-influenced postpartum memory?


No, it makes sense.

Melanie B

Oh I want to emulate Don Bosco, but it's an ideal I fall so short of I often don't even feel like I'm striving for it.

#1 is the hardest for me: "1. Close supervision by the people entrusted with the children. "[The Rector] must always be with his pupils whenever they are not engaged in some occupation, unless they are already being properly supervised by others.""

I'm constantly looking for those bits of space where I can slip off and read or write a bit, do something alone instead of surrounded by these needy little ones. Supervising them? Constantly? So draining. And yet I do see the logic. The worst trouble is always when I'm out of sight. But as a mom of little ones, it's awful hard to be supervising everyone all the time without being dictatorial and violating principle #3, allowing them the freedom to be physical and be out of doors and have fun.

I find it so hard to do the close physical presence thing. Especially when dealing with a nursing baby. I'm not one of those women who can easily nurse while doing other things. So to get up while the baby is nursing means to detach the baby. Which means I have to choose between immediate discipline and supervision and a wailing baby who is mad because the milk is gone and who often has just fallen asleep. Oh if only there were two of me!

Jenny, I got so very angry with one of my nurses after Bella was born when we were having a great deal of trouble with her latch (despite all the lactation consultants and their contradictory advice, or maybe because of them it took six weeks to move past the cracked bleeding nipples and intense pain at every feeding). Anyway the nurse found me crying because I couldn't get the latch right and it hurt (and I was postpartum and recovering from a c-section, thank you very much) and suggested I needed to hand the baby off to someone else and take a break. Which was at that moment the absolute worst advice ever. I didn't want a break, I didn't want to be separated from my baby, I wanted to feed her and care for her. I just wanted the pain to go away. Her solution would have made me more frustrated not less. as I listened to the hungry baby wail or imagined her wailing in the nursery. ANd yes, a huge part of that was my resentment of the constant desire to separate us: let us take the baby to the nursery so you can sleep. AS if I could sleep without her!

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