One of the biggest jobs we have as parents is to instill a solid self-esteem into our children. It’s important for our kids to grow up feeling like they matter, that they have worth. However, it’s also important for children to take responsibility for their actions. We live in a world today that is far more concerned about hurting kids feelings than holding them accountable. Parents blame teachers when their kid gets in trouble, parents fight with coaches when their kid doesn’t get playing time, parents don’t discipline for fear it’ll scar their child for life, etc etc etc.
Blogging is a tricky thing. I LOVE it and am glad so many of you read it, but having people read it means I also have to be aware of what I write. I don’t believe in fluff. I don’t blog to get more followers. Or to make people think I have a perfect little life. I blog to accurately tell my “story.” To leave a little piece of myself behind for my children, and their children, when I’m gone. I want to tell it honest and true but I also don’t want to cross that line where feelings get hurt, people get embarrassed, or I say something that could someday bite me in the butt. It’s a tough juggling act and I pretty often drop a ball or two.
Yesterday something happened that shouldn’t be aired to the whole world to read. However, it happened. I always am quick to share the positive in life, but I don’t want to walk around looking like some one dimensional family. We all have depth, we all have flaws and those make us the imperfect humans we are 🙂 I tend to blog about most things in life, especially bigger things. So I’ve been debating about how to approach this situation…here it goes 🙂
Something that Zach and I are working on is not saying “be a good boy” to Kye. It’s a hard habit to break but I realized by telling him that, we are implying that there is an opportunity to be a “bad boy.” No child is perfect, but no child is ever BAD either. You make choices in life. Children, even very young children, make choices. Those choices can be good or bad but they don’t define that child as a good or bad person. God loves us all, all the time, and always thinks we are “good” even when we choose to do “bad.”
Yesterday was Mrs. Charlotte’s 50th birthday and we offered to have her party at our house because it’s impossible for us to really go places right now (Brittlynn eats at 4, 6, then 8…). Everyone else did all the work for the actual party, my only responsibility for the day was to get myself ready and the house clean. Sounds simple but with a non-sleeping newborn and a toddler, it was impossible (thank the LORD for my awesome husband!). Brittlynn cried all morning. Then she finally slept and Kye acted up. It wasn’t a good day. It ended in lots of tears for me.
Kye made the worst choice he’s made to date. It was very out of character and shocked me. Typically the bad choices Kye makes are ones where we say “do such and such” and he chooses not to do it. He doesn’t often choose to do something wrong. He doesn’t break things, hurt people, or have random bad acts. He just doesn’t. In this case, however, he chose to do something wrong.
It was bad enough where I started crying right away and called Zach. Zach was out running some work and personal errands and he said he was coming straight home. I told Kye that Daddy was coming home and that he would be spanking Kye when he got there. I’ve never done this before. I believe if Kye misbehaves for me then I should be the one to punish him. I don’t want him to think Mommy can’t handle it and has to call Daddy in every time nor do I want it to appear that Zach is the only disciplinarian in our home. However, we’ve reached the age where I simply can’t spank him anymore. I always knew this age would come, but I thought he’d be at least 5 or 6 years old…not two!!! The kid is STRONG and can wiggle away from me and shift around his body so it’s impossible for me to spank him. When I tried he even said “silly Mommy.” Like he knew there was no way for me to win that battle!
Our conversation went something like this:
Me: “Kye, Daddy is coming home to spank you. Why did you do the unspeakable thing?”
Kye: “Ummmmm I don’t know.”
Me: “Did you do it because you were mad at Mommy?”
Kye: “Yes Ma’am.”
Me: “Well Daddy is coming home from work to talk to you about it and give you a spanking.”
Kye: “Just a little spanking?”
Me: “No sir, a big spanking. You made a very very bad choice and need a big spanking from Daddy.”
Kye: “ohhh ok.”
It was the first time Kye has done something to truly disappoint us as parents. He made a choice to act in a way that he shouldn’t have acted and he knew it. He even told us he was going to get a spanking. When Zach got home Kye was very calm about everything and Zach took him to our room to talk to and spank him. Kye never got upset and was 100% understanding of why he needed the spanking. For the first time ever he didn’t even put his hands over his bottom to block it.
It was a BIG moment in Kye’s life. Both positive and negative. Yes, it was the first time he made such a choice. It was the first time for us, as parents, to know the way a child can disappoint you. But it was also the first time Kye had to own up to that bad choice. And he did it so well. We were both blown away by his maturity at handling the situation, talking about it, apologizing for it, and taking the discipline he knew he needed. I honestly do not think he’ll ever make that choice again. It has changed the way I look at him, to me he grew up some in those moments. Zach and I both realized he’s able to understand things on a deeper level than we typically give him credit for. That our hard work has been worth it as he understands the concept of consequences. That he understands when you choose to do wrong, you will have to be punished for that choice. He also was able to be punished a good 30 min after the action happened and still understood what he had done and why he was being disciplined.
After the spanking Kye came out and apologized to me for it and we dropped it. Zach and I talked about it privately, and both said we were more shocked at his awesome response after the incident than we were about the actual incident taking place. Kye’s going through a lot right now with having to share attention with a younger sibling and I knew that stress on him would come out in some way. I think the burst of anger towards me was him getting out a lot of pent up aggression from this past month. It’s not an excuse for his behavior or is it justification for it, but I think it is the reason behind it.
What matters most is that Kye learned from it and we all grew because of it. Isn’t that true as adults too? When we make poor choices in life we have to face the consequences of those actions and, if we are paying attention, those “tough spots” in life allow us to grow in new ways. We learn more about ourselves and have an opportunity from the Lord to grow closer to Him. Before nap today, during our family prayers, Kye brought up the incident on his own. We haven’t talked about it since it happened (it’s important, to us, to discipline when needed but not to harp on things – all that does is tear people down) yet during his prayer he prayed about it. That is awesome! It’s important to go to God in prayer over all areas in our lives and we try to have Kye understand that God is proud of him when he makes good choices and disappointed when he makes bad ones. Hearing him tell God that he wasn’t going to do that again caused both Zach and I to look at each other and smile.
He may have made a bad decision, but he’s still our sweet Kye. When he gets in trouble he’ll often say to me, “I’m a good boy!” My response every time is to say: “You are ALWAYS a good boy Kye, but you need to make good choices.” I know we are going to face other poor choices from our children in the future. I know our moments of disappointment are only beginning. You do your best as a parent but you can’t protect your children forever and they will experience the world and the many temptations in it. All we can do is prepare them for that and pray that they choose the right path to follow. Pray that when they do choose wrong, that they learn from it and come back to choosing right. I’m proud of Kye for learning from his poor decision and hope we can only continue to train him up in the way he should go!
I’d LOVE some advice on how to handle discipline issues when Zach is not home. It doesn’t happen often where I need to spank Kye but when it does I am now at a loss for what to do? I like the idea of taking away a privilege but I feel it needs to be related to the issue at hand. Like if he pitches a fit when we turn off a movie then, yeah, he can’t watch the movie again for a day or something. But if he runs in Brittlynn’s room screaming (he’s never done this, but it’s an example) I’m not going to take away a movie privilege ya know? I also don’t think it’s fair that if he acts out at 9 am that he should have to wait for Zach to get home at 5 pm for discipline. He’s way too young for that. I’m typically anti-time out but maybe that’s my only option? Then, if it’s bad enough, he could also get punished from Daddy when Zach gets home? Or at least have a talk with Zach??? Any advice would be great…and please don’t bother telling me we shouldn’t spank. Not only do we believe it’s what the Bible instructs us to do, but we have also seen that it works so why would we stop? You can read more about our spanking beliefs here. I have also thought about rewarding when he does good to encourage him to choose right? But then he should choose right b/c it’s the right thing to do, not because he gets a sticker or something for it at the end of the day ya know (don’t get me wrong – I verbally reward him constantly for making good choices!)? Any help would be great!!!