The Chronicles of Mommyhood

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Last weekend we took Dash to the wading pool, which was a slightly scandalizing experience for both Mommy and Dash (Mr. Incredible was using his superpowers at the driving range). We happened to arrive just in time for not one, but two toddler birthday parties, so there were dozens of 1-5 year olds everywhere. Dash was a bit taken aback by the screaming, splashing, pouring, jumping chaos all around. I was the only parent in the water, while the toddler parents were chaperoning from the sidelines. They were CONSTANTLY chastizing their little ones for their behavior. I'm all for a rowdy, rolicking good time in the pool, but kids were pouring water on others' heads and making others cry. In my view, this doesn't merit a third or fourth warning, but if Dash had knowingly poured water on a little girl's head who said NO! he would be out of the pool in no time. No warnings. I'm quite certain that my parents would have done the same for me. Anyway, the constant warnings and lack of enforcement/consequences got me thinking about discipline and realizing that I don't know much about the matter. But I have to think that let your no mean no and your yes mean yes is pretty good advice. But perhaps that is just easier for me to say now...


  • Discipline is such a tough thing, and you certainly have to find your own style. I recently read a great book by a Christian father and child psychologist about discipline called "how to make your child mind without losing yours." The book emphasizes logical consequences (which I also learned about in the book "Love and Logic"). I think that you noticed a natural consequence to misbehavior in the pool -- if I can't trust my child to behave well in the pool he can't be in the pool right now.

    One of the great things about "How to make your child mind" was that he emphasizes that there are many choices that you cannot make for your child, including ultimately his choice to know and love Jesus. Since this is the case, as parents we need to try to train them to make good choices rather than make a habit of making choices for them, and providing consequences for their poor choices is one of the ways that we can help them to make better choices on their own later on.

    In defense of the mothers at the pool, you will find soon that it is so hard when your child's misbehavior punishes you as well -- when you have to leave the playground to discipline and it is your first time out of the house in a week, for example, and you would really prefer to be chatting with your friends, sand throwing toddler or not.

    I'm glad none of those water throwers turned themselves on Dash, at least you were able to remain a neutral observer for now!

    By Blogger sixandthecity, at 10:40 AM  

  • Not really. It is just that you need to be disciplined too! If you say no, be ready to enforce the consequences, otherwise, don't even bother. Everyone in our playgroup thinks that I am the mean mommy...but you know what, Gianna is pretty well-behaved in public...most of the time!

    By Anonymous Kellie, at 7:33 PM  

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