Monday, April 28, 2008

Discipline Defined

I love parenting because it's challenging and rewarding, but lately I've had a new adjective to add to how I'd describe parenting: frustrating!

We started potty training Maggie back in January and it's mostly been a success, but we've had quite the relapse since Magson's arrival. As a sleep-deprived new mother of two, I haven't been very patient with what my brothers and sisters call her "pee rage." I'm suddenly catching myself raising my voice. Once I even almost spanked her because I was so frustrated, and I am totally anti-spanking!

So, I literally sat down to watch General Conference this past month with one question I wanted answered: how do I discipline and react to misbehavior? It seems like there's millions of parenting styles and just a lot of questions about how to do it most effectively. (I normally wouldn't call having accidents a misbehavior, except my sweet Maggie was having them on purpose. They were fake accidents. I'm serious! And stopping the "pee rage" isn't all I've been stumped about; it's been how to discipline in general.)

Anyway, Magnet and I have had so many parenting questions, so between conference sessions when there was a special featuring parenting and disciplining children we were all ears. Well, Magnet was. I think I was off taking care of Magson. But anyway, they referenced an awesome site: You Can Do This.
It's got loads of information about discipling your kids that truly resonates with us. We haven't read it all, but my favorite section so far has been the "Discipline vs. Punishment" section where I learned that the word discipline comes from the Latin word disciplina, which means "teaching" or "learning." Also, discipline shares a common root with the word disciple: one who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of another. It talks about praising your children more than you correct them and all kinds of other things. We've always known that you should act consistently and always with love and kindness when discipling aka teaching kids, but exactly how to do that isn't always obvious. It's been nice to have this in-depth resource to refer to and think about.

With Maggie it really has been so natural and easy to respond with love to her little misbehaviors. She's such a good kid. Most of the time she puts herself in time out. It's hilarious. She says, "I going to time out! I being naughty!" She goes in there upset and comes out a minute later and tells me, "I'm happy now!" She's also been such a great big sister to Magson. She loves trying to make him feel better when he cries. She reads books to him. She sings to him. And she loves to talk about the things she's going to teach him when he gets bigger...the latest skill: running. It'll be awhile!

Here are some pictures of her this last month. I feel like I've posted so many of Liam and not enough of her. (It doesn't help that she scrams the second I pull out the camera. Lately she's been pretty insistent that she does not need her picture taken.) OK, enough words from me already. Enjoy!

Wrapping a present for Liam with her GREAT Aunt Julie

Play Doh with Auntie Tina

Reading with Aunt Tina (Welcome home from BYU-I, Tina!)

The smile she pulls when I say, "Say cheese!"

Giving Baby Anna a stroll
Running from the camera
And a few of Magson this past week at five weeks old!


  1. Thank you for the resource. I look forward to studying it. Parenting is indeed a challenge. As my kids have gone through difficult stages, I have felt exactly like you. Specifically, when Kurt was potty-training, I wondered if we would ever have a good relationship again. It was so stressful. Now, my kids are in good stages and I think back on the rougher ones. Somehow we made it through them and I don't feel that my children were scarred because of them. I guess when you're in the middle of those times, it helps me to realize that it will end. My biggest thing is to be positive and not reinforce negative behavior. I'm always looking for new approaches, so I'll see what I can take from the website. Thanks again!

  2. Marie, I TOTALLY hear ya! I found myself letting out the "mean" side with the first time I potty trained one of mine, even on the second too, but not as extreme. I literally could not think of anything else for weeks! I was so engrossed in getting it down and didn't realize that it takes time. I wanted it done at my convenience and not hers. I also got way to upset. I learned from my dear mother-in-law the power of "a soft answer turneth away wrath." I learned it the hard way. I still have trouble with it, but I'm much better. Thanks for letting me know that you have hardships similar to mine!

  3. Thanks for the info. I will have to read it. I have been having a lot of questions on how to discipline Emma as well. It is so easy to get upset with her, instead of being patient and trying to teach her. I am sure grateful for forgivness and repentance.

    As usual, I love the pics!

  4. I've liked that website too. Thanks for sharing it. It's sad that we're just entering the beginning of disciplining huh? It REALLY makes me not want our kiddies to grow up!! Sometimes I lay in bed at night feeling like all I said all day was "no" and "stop that" and "don't do that" and "do you want to go to your room?" And I feel like I've been so mean. And then I usually just end up letting Jaran deal with it when he gets home and I take care of the baby (because he doesn't disobey :)) It's tough!
    Your house looks so nice and cute! I want to come see it! And I like the picture of Bella running away from the camera, it looks like she is about to fall over!
    p.s. Sorry about the pee rages! No fun!!




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