Today, during my Mothers of Pre Schoolers (I heart MOPS) meeting, we discussed discipline and the "strong willed" child. Although Ikaika is still too young to acurately categorize his personality, Im starting to detect very authoritative undertones in his behavior. Because I suspect that a year from now this topic will apply to me, I was sure to listen intently during todays presentation.
Lani, a pastor and grandmother of 8, explained to our room of eager moms how our little monsters are actually tomorrows leaders. Isnt that an encouraging thought? Stubborn, pain-in-the-ass kids grow up to be our bosses...anyone else not surprised?!
Seriously though, raising strong willed kids can be a real challenge, especially if you are a strong willed adult. Lani pointed out the difference between defiance and irresponsibility. And I made sure to take notes. Defiance needs to be met with discipline. Irresponsibility need to be met with correction. Notice the difference? It makes sense, but requires the clarity of mind to determine which is which (not always easy in the high stress, frustrating conditions under which these things usually occur). It also requires a working knowledge of age appropriate behavior - something I just realized Im lacking!
Lani suggested using a "pa'i stick", a designated object for smacking your children ("Target has some good ones") because "hands are meant to hug and love". I chuckled when she was explaining the pa'i stick because it sounds exactly like Thai Teachers Guide to Discipline and I know that if she had been doing this presentation in Portland, Oregon at least 4 mothers would have stood up and walked out!
With strong willed kids, I was told that its important to "shape their will without breaking their spirit".
Sigh...all this just makes me wonder how I am going to survive raising my kids! I already know that Im going to make a ton of mistakes. I know Im going to try a hundred techniques before I find one that works. Can I shape without breaking? Its as if my mind - my rational logical mind - KNOWS what to do. I know what the "right" thing is. But can I do that as a parent? ...err...can I do that at least 60% of the time (that sounds like a realistic goal, right?!)
What kind of discipline do you use and does it work for you?