Can I be real with you for a moment? I am bad at discipline. Really bad. Typical discipline for me goes something like this: the offender loses something, say their phone. Then I need him/her to have the phone in order to contact me when they are done with an activity and are ready to be picked up. Then I just forget to take the phone back and punishment is apparently over. Or, a teen will lose their car keys for a certain number of days, until the next day when I don't feel like taking them to work so I give the car keys back and forget all about the punishment.
I am also really bad about letting my kids wear me down. They ask something and the first 10 times, my answer will be a firm no. But after awhile, I give in. They've learned this so they know to just keep on asking, don't give up on mom!
Oh! I am so bad at this. I think my kids have come to the point where they don't even fear my punishments because they know it won't last long. Which then results in my kids not really learning anything from my discipline. And they don't fear me answering no because if they keep working on me, they will get their way.
While feeling the guilt of messing up yet another punishment recently, this verse came to mind.
But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.'
For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
Our yes should be yes and our no should be no. Period. We shouldn't let punishments be forgotten or let our kids badger us into changing our minds. This doesn't teach them anything, except that you can be swayed. Here are a few ways to help you let your yes be yes and your no be no.
- Before you answer a question your kids ask, stop and think about it. Is this something that you and your family can handle? I struggle with letting my kids be out too late into the evening simply because I like to be in the home, ready for a relaxing and quiet evening. Them being gone late disturbs that because this mama likes to have all of her chickies with her. So when my kids ask to do something, my answer is automatically no. If I stop and think about it, the reality is that sometimes it is okay. So if I answer yes sometimes, they get their fun evening and I am not being wishy washy with my answer. Yet, sometimes there needs to be 'no' answers. At these times, be firm. Keep the 'no.' It doesn't matter if it inconveniences your child. It was your answer and should remain that. So stop and think about your answer before answering.
- Before handing out a punishment, again, stop and think about it. Is this a punishment you can stick to? For one of my teens, our go-to punishment is taking away the car keys. However, sometimes this is an inconvenience for our family, for example, if my husband and I are unable to take him to work. If I stop and consider the upcoming days, it might be better for all involved to pick a different punishment, one we are more apt to stick to. So stop and consider punishments before handing them out.
- Remember, you are the parent before you are the friend. Too often parents want to be their child's friend. Yet, if we focus on being the parent first, our relationship with our children will blossom into a friendship as they begin to respect us as their parents first.
Do you struggle with letting your yes be yes and your no be no? What are ways you handle this with your kids? Share your own experiences in the comments.