Now, please know that I’ve never actually hit my children with a belt. At that moment though, it didn’t matter. At that moment they believed I would.
I have to discipline my children. It’s sort of my job. You’re welcome society. If you’re unclear about the word discipline, my buddy Webster defines it as: training that develops self-control. Again, you’re welcome, because I actually got that definition out of a legit dictionary. Like, one made from paper. I’m making Logan look things up in it. He looks at it like it’s a dinosaur bone. Whatever.
The good news is that I don’t have to yell at my kids very often. Most times, all I really have to do is look at them. It’s a super power you get when you become a mom and I use it daily. And I talk to them. Like, a lot. I tell them things like, “You guys were so well behaved in Target. I’m so proud to be your mom. Thank you so much for being polite to that lady and not asking for any toys.” I also say things like, ‘Now, when we get in this store, I want you to stay right by this cart and use your inside voices, got it? Also, we are here for toilet paper and laundry soap. I am not buying toys or candy. Don’t ask. Understood?” and most of the time they do understand, they do get it. They are children, however, and still forget the rules, sometimes. They ask for toys anyway but, when I say no, they know not to throw a fit on the floor because…duh. As I’ve said a time or two, ‘I am NOT afraid to spank you in Target. Don’t think I am. I. do. not. care.’
And they know I don’t. Because I’ve done it.
I don’t always like disciplining my kids. It’s not always awesome. My mom was right. It really did hurt her more than it did me. You know what, though? I knew to keep my hands to myself. I knew to keep my voice down inside and not jump all over the furniture. I knew that if a grown-up got out of a chair, and I ran over to sit in it, it might very well be the last time I sat down for awhile. I never made a habit out of throwing fits in stores. That may or may not have had to do with the fact that she usually bought me a book but, that’s another post all together =)
I don’t like to discipline my kids. You know what I do like, though? Sending them out into the world without me and getting reports back that they were amazing and well behaved. I love that, even when I’m not there to tell them to say it, they thank people for things. They don’t hit people. They don’t lie down on the ground and throw fits. It would be silly to not be proud of your kids when they are well behaved. It’s total parent validation that you might be doing something right after all. It would also be silly to not want to remind them how to have self-control when they are home.
I’m not proud of the scream that made my throat hurt. It wasn’t exactly a shining example of self-control on my part. I sort of sounded like a lunatic. Screaming at my kids is neither healthy nor productive. There were one hundred other ways I could have handled that, 99 of which wouldn’t even have landed me in jail. I hate that I said ‘shut up.’ We normally don’t say that around here. I don’t like it. It’s rude.
I do have to say, I am okay with the belt question. Seriously, if one of them had actually had the balls to say, ‘Yes,’ I probably wouldn’t have been able to use it anyway. Or maybe I would have. Who knows. But, it wasn’t an empty threat, it was a question. They had a choice. I think they both chose wisely.
Happy Independence Day, Friends.
go. do. be.