Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Learn your rules: Kids and discipline...

Do you watch The US Office? No?! Well you totally should!

There are 3 enforced rules that anybody called Little Miss O who lives in our house have to abide by - and these are new. Why have I all of a sudden sprung these rules on her? Why now? Why not before?

Well simple really, Little Miss O turns 4 next month and what is cute and laughable at age 3 is not so funny at age 4 - school age, right?!

How many times have you just cringed at the behaviour of a child in the street? I always wonder whether its the first time the kid has acted/spoken out of turn like that and I wonder why there appears to be no consequence. I don't judge - that's not my job. I just wonder is all. I recently heard a mum ask her son to 'say hello' to an adult. The boy, aged about 6/7 ignored his mum. The mum then said 'I'm counting to 3...1..2...3'. The boy still ignored her. Then she said 'right, when you get home you're going in the dustbin!'... I'm soooo not judging, after all I am not a perfect parent! BUT, I did understand why the boy didn't listen - he didn't have to. Obviously his mum wasn't really going to 'put him in the dustbin' if he didn't feel like saying hi, why would he. If it were Little Miss O, I would like her to do it because she wants to show how polite she is and failing that, 'because I said so!'..

This really got me thinking...

Little Miss O is a very confident, happy and very lovable child, but like every child, she has reached the stage where she's pushing the boundaries, seeing how far she can go and what she can get away with. And the boundaries and the lines have shifted - all the time. In the worst case scenario, I let most things slide (I want to enjoy the time we have together and not spend it telling her off for what in the grand scheme of things are minor offences...!); at best my discipline strategy (if you can call it that) has been very sporadic and very much dependent on my mood and level of exhaustion! Mostly though, I resort to 'distraction' tactics....but the older she's getting, the less effective it is.

Frankly, I just feel that its not good enough. When I'm tired at work, I don't just tell my boss 'sorry, I can't be bothered, I'll just put 50% into this project' sir! I crack on. So, why then do I only give 50% follow through to discipline in my own home?

I've had a good chat with Mr O about how we can move forward. We agreed that in a job with no protocols, no job description - no nothing, you're bound to make mistakes. We definitely aren't beating ourselves up over this late realisation...but, it's all about being progressive...

In the last week, we've established 3 new rules in our home. Actually 'established' isn't the right word because these rules were already there, its just that they weren't enforced. Sometimes we followed through, other times we didn't.

I'll reveal our rules soon, but I wondered - do others out there use 'rules' with their little ones?

When did you start with 'rules' and how is working for you?

If you don't have kids yet, which rules did you have as a kid and do you think they helped shape who you are today?

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