So, I’ve had some interest in how I discipline my kids. I have no idea how this post will turn out, so beware.
To start out, I will have to say that my disciplinary skills started to develop when I was very, very young. I am told that I was super bossy….True. And super loud…Very True. I do remember punishing my dolls and making my Barbies argue with one another over who was wearing the best outfit. I liked the drama of it all.
If any of you reading this are my closest friends from high school or college, you know that I either caused drama, encouraged the drama…or added to the drama that had nothing to do with me to begin with. Something was always going on within my inner circle of friends. Life was never boring, that’s for sure. They all know it.
I remember being single, but imagining my life as a wife and a mother. Blissful…I simply could not wait. And I also remember going to the grocery store or the mall all by myself. (It seems like forever ago….well, it was forever ago.) I can recall several, several occasions observing children throwing ridiculous temper tantrums….in the middle of isle 3 at Publix because the mother wouldn’t put a certain box of cereal in her buggy. The child was sooooooo loud. I was embarrassed for her. The mom. Not the kid.
And we’ve all witnessed the mother in the Wal-Mart check out line. Her toddler is screaming because he wants 17 pieces of candy while the 6 year old is standing up in the buggy shouting to the top of her lungs that she’s never going to talk to her mother again because she didn’t get her a Barbie Dream House. We’re all looking at the situation like, what in the world?
Oh–and shopping in Gayfers… (remember when it was called that?)…there’s a mom calling her child’s name over and over, searching inside all the round clothes racks. You hear the kid snickering while their mother is calling…then yelling, but panicking at the the same time. Oh…..I was so that kid.
I would stare in absolute shock at the way some of these parents reacted to their children. Before spanking was abusive, some moms just slapped their kid around a bit…telling him to shut his mouth before she really gave him something to cry about. Other moms—oh, and I can’t STAND this—you know the mom who talks so loudly as she gets on to her kid?? And you’re standing RIGHT THERE. It’s like she’s trying to show you how good of a disciplinarian she is?? Good gracious. I get so embarrassed for these moms. I can’t even concentrate on what I’m shopping for.
All I knew is that my child would NEVER act like that. I would never ever be that mom who couldn’t control her kids. I would never allow my kids to embarrass me like her kids were embarrassing her. And if I did have to discipline my sweet angels, we would excuse ourselves to the restroom where there would be no audience.
And now I’m just laughing. Cause all that right there, is comical.
My kids are kids. They do all the things I never said they would. And I do all the things I never said I would (except for turning up the volume in public when I have to discipline. I NEVER do that). My kids ask for toys and get upset when I say no. They want candy when we check out. We have the occasional public meltdown, but it’s never been really bad.
At the present moment, I sometimes can’t avoid having to take all six kids to the grocery store. It’s just part of it. However, I have a plan when we must do the unthinkable.
Before we even get out of the car, I put the fear of God in them. First thing’s first. Then I mentally prepare myself for a disaster, get the kids out, and we all walk in.
Maggie, the oldest, gets a buggy and I get a buggy. Jillian, the baby, goes in the front of my buggy. Molly and Maddie Wallace go in the back of Maggie’s. Lola, my skinny speedster, runs straight to the deli section and gets 6 free bags of popcorn. And I mean she scoots. I need her to get those things ASAP. Jack, my one and only boy, stands guard to protect me and the girls.
I know that the cashiers look at us when we walk in, they recognize me, and know every detail of my routine. I don’t act like I know that they know us when we all parade in. I just avoid all eye contact. People looking at us makes me very uncomfortable for some reason. It’s like I can either see how sorry they are for me, or I can tell that they are just dying to ask me if I know how this keeps on happening. Oh, and I’m showing a big baby bump now, so that makes things all the better for these people who want to show me their wonderful sense of humor. Thanks.
So far, we have made it through the grocery store without me losing my mind completely. I often get to the checkout counter with items that I did not place in the buggy. And I usually just buy them anyway. Jillian makes the most fuss, but I can just stick a glazed doughnut in her mouth and it usually gets us through about 4 more aisles. The section that always gets me is on the very last aisle–the dairy section. By this time, the kids have had just about enough and I have had just about enough. The very last area I pass is the wine section..
There have been times, however, when we get stopped by a shopper. Usually it’s, “are these all your kids?” or something like that. Lots of people comment on the little girls being cute. Molly always ALWAYS talks back to them. Always ALWAYS.
One time a very elderly woman stopped us. She was sweet…very complimentary, but extremely long winded. She had a huge mole, bless her heart, underneath her nose. A few minutes after she stopped us, Molly started up a cute conversation with her. She was telling her about our animals and how old she was….things like that. And then she stood up in the buggy……pointed at the woman’s nose and asked her what that was underneath it…..and THEN before I could yank her hand away, Molly jiggled her mole. She jiggled her mole back and forth with her index finger. A stranger. Right there. In front of everyone. I mean…………………….I just have nothing else to say about that.
I’m sorry, but must pause for a few moments…..
Okay. At home, things are quite different. Like right now, I’m trying to finish this post and I’ve had to stop five times to get on to someone or get in between an argument. It’s frustrating. My kids are not these little quiet darlings when they are at home with me.
As you can imagine, when you have six kids running around doing goodness knows what, you can’t catch everything. So, obviously, the little kids get away with waaaayyyyy more than they should, but when they do get caught, they may very well get a spanking. And then they cry, crawl up in my lap, and they cry some more and want kisses. They always come back later on and apologize again. I haven’t taught them to do that, but they just do. They are very sincere…. something that I am very thankful for.
The big kids get hit the hardest when punishment comes around. I don’t allow them to back talk. This happens most often with the big girls. The moment any of that starts, it is immediately stopped right then and there. I will not put up with it, and thankfully, don’t have to deal with it often. Punishment for them is usually taking their tablets and/or computer away. That hurts them the most. They love Minecraft something crazy.
I do get mad and raise my voice, which is probably my biggest fault when it comes to disciplining my kids. Believe it or not, I am not a patient person. And my hormones have kind of been on a roller coaster ride for the past, oh, 12 years. Remember me saying that I was loud as a child? Well, I’m loud as an adult, too. When I get really fed up, the volume is nothing you can ignore. If it gets to that point, the kids know what to do. It gets really, really quiet and feet start moving really, really fast. The issue is usually one of two things. Either the house looks like the horses ran through it, or the kids are just being wild. Raising my voice has unfortunately, however, taught them to raise their voices to each other, too. It is one of my biggest regrets as a parent and I very much want to change that ugly part of me.
Mike Rooster and I talk about our kid’s behavior a lot. We have often reminded ourselves that we really do have sweet, loving children. Our expectations of them are extremely high, though. We don’t give them the excuse that they are “just kids and that’s just what kids do”. No matter what the age. We don’t allow temper tantrums. I mean, the little kids cry, don’t get me wrong, but they would never be allowed to throw things or go crazy…etc. So we allow them to act their age and get upset because they didn’t get the juice cup that they wanted, but the way they react to it is where our expectation level rises greatly. Starting young is so important and we feel that the standard should be set higher…. God expects much from us, so we should expect much from them.
The older kids are expected to help out. It’s not optional, it’s a requirement. They must respect us and others. They are expected to act responsibly and they know their responsibilities around the farm. If they are told to do something, they are to do it. Right then. And with a good attitude. You think that always happens? Nope. But the more they do it the wrong way, the less they do it the wrong way.
It’s so ironic that God chose me and Rooster to be the parents of so many. It is hard, but seeing the fruit of our labor is truly rewarding. When we are told that our children “are so well behaved”, we realize that they really are taking what we are teaching them out into the real world. We just may not see it until something like that happens or when going to a restaurant is a breeze (which does happen sometimes), we see that they are getting it. When I get through the grocery store without feeling like I need to buy a bottle of wine, I realize that they are getting it. Slowly, but surely, they are getting it.
You know, I don’t tell them enough how proud they truly make me. I tend to focus on the things that need to be fixed, instead of seeing all the things that have been mended. I tend to point out all of the dirty, instead of seeing all of the clean. I hope that I will soon turn around and do just the opposite.
So, the person who needs to be disciplined the most is actually myself…this realization was not expected, y’all, but very much needed.
And just like TheDay Molly Jiggled the Mole, I have nothing else to say about that.