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Home » Featured, Fit Families, Sunshine Mama Drama

How Do You Discipline Your Child?

Submitted by on July 12, 2010 – 6:00 AM8 Comments
How Do You Discipline Your Child?

What really works when it comes to discipline and children?  I personally am a bit on the tough side compared to the majority of my girlfriends.  Most likely because I was a terrible teenager and I refuse to let my children evolve into the horrific spawn of Satan I begrudgingly admit to being between the ages of 13-17!

I thought for sure for the first five months of my pregnancy with Madilynne that she was a boy…I was shocked to find out she was in fact a girl.  I was in a total state of disbelief! So much so that I scheduled a second ultra sound.  I can look back on this and laugh hysterically, but at the time it was more than devastating.

I had just assumed that she would be a boy.  Matt would teach our child all of the things that “he” needed to know about respect, how to throw a football, how to treat women, etc.

When I realized I was having a mini-me (oh and mini-me she is) I was horrified….now it was all on my shoulders.  I had just evolved into a young women myself.  How and the heck was I supposed to teach this little sweet baby girl anything when I was just figuring it out for myself??

Of coarse this was all just a season just like our Sunshine Mama Sarah Marks reminded me in her blog A Mother’s Season in the Living Lesson Book.

Once I had wrapped my mind around the idea of a baby girl, the fun began…when she was first born, I would dress her up everyday and take a picture!  (First child of coarse, Hailey, my second child was lucky to make it out of her pajamas by noon!)

But by the time Madilynne was a year old, I knew I was in for it.  She would test my patience in every angle.  Of coarse in the back of my mind still lingered the fear of my sweet girl evolving into a MONSTER like I had once been.  I was determined I would remain in control of the situation no matter what.

Where did I turn?  Well to Super Nanny of coarse!  We started with time outs which was most age appropriate for her. If she would not remain in her time out chair as instructed, I would place her back, time and time again. Eventually I was able to break her.

After FOUR YEARS of  consistency I have, what I consider to be, two well mannered little ladies. (Most of the time that is!!)  They absolutely try and pull the wool over my eyes on occasion, but I am wise to all of their tactics!!

Currently, my biggest behavioral problems are Madilynne not listening the FIRST time I ask her (selective hearing) and with Hailey it is, and always has been, crying and whining without even attempting to use her words.

These two issues have escalated enough in the last two days to create a little tension in my soul.  I know the answer, but implementing it at this stage in the game is frustrating.

It’s frustrating due to the fact that I feel like I’ve been there, done that with both children.  I have implemented, what I consider to be, consistent structure and discipline.  (As consistent as one can be in between loads of laundry, traveling, playdates, storytime, meals, etc.)

Like I said, I know the answer…choosing my plan of attack (whether it be time out, or loss of privileges) and sticking to my guns when implementing it.

I also am aware of the fact that being a parent is an ongoing task.  It never stops…once you feel you’ve tackled one hurdle, there it is again in another form.  Or even worse, a bigger hurdle!!

So as I write this I seek advice from other Mamas.  What forms of discipline do you use? What works, what doesn’t?  What is your biggest behavioral problem, or hurdle, you face with your child at this stage in their life?

One last thought…I just keep trying to remind myself that when I reach my breaking point, this is usually when they conform!  All I can do is hope at this point!!:)

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  • Tiffany Meyer says:

    First of all, I have to just throw out there…. I freakin’ LOVE supernanny!

    I, too, began using her time-out method when Noah turned one year. Time out lasts for your age; I was shocked to realize that 1.5 minutes is an eternity to a 1.5 year old! It took me a solid four months to break him. I can recall one horrific Sunday afternoon when I ‘replaced’ him in time-out SEVENTEEN times, before he completed his 1.5 minutes without getting up. After that,he just ‘got’ it. He serves his time, and at the end, especially if he has been crying, we ask ‘Are you finished’? He will come and hug us, or choose to sit there (REALLY!) until he is back in control. He is fully aware that not only does time need to be up, but he has to have his emotions back in check before he can get up. We then started using the method at the sitter, at grammas, etc. He has since learned that mommy and daddy can find a place for time-out ANYWHERE. We have a step stool in the garage that is the deemed ‘time-out’ chair for outside play. He will be two (OMG!!!) in October, and I can honestly say that about 85% of the time, we simply have to ask him ‘Would you like a time out??’ and he quickly shakes his head and moves on to something that won’t mean trouble!

    Earlier in the summer, we hit a road block with tantrums. And by tantrums, I mean the screaming, kicking, don’t look at me, don’t touch me, I might hurt myself episodes. They were usually public, and they would usually end in tears for me as well. I was heartbroken. This was NOT my sweet baby, and I refused to accept the reassurance from those around me that ‘this was a phase’. It was NOT acceptable! Ignoring my family, friends, and pediatrician, I did my own research, and eventually realized that we were not having discipline problems; we were having serious communication issues! I found a book that breaks down the three types of meltdowns,(stress,manipulative, and communication), and how to respond to them accordingly. It is as if a switch has been flipped. I am quickly realizing that it is not my son’s actions that cause these meltdowns, as much as my own reactions. By NO means does he get what he wants, but we are communicating in a way that leaves his toddler mind much less frustrated!

    My approach to discipline, and parenting in general, is to be informed. The matriarchs of my family would say I read too much. The way I look at it, there is no right or wrong way, persay, but you are going to be successful a whole lot faster if you get out there and see what’s working for everyone else!

    Hang in there, Lori! Why they may not conform by breakfast time today, you are doing the right thing by seeking new ideas! You are already leaps and bounds ahead of many… there are so many parents that aren’t worried at this stage in life what kind of little people they are molding to be big people! When they do start getting involved, it’s going to be too late! Your words were perfect; parenting is ongoing! You are a fabulous momma!! How boring would it be if they didn’t test you every now and then? ;o)

  • Elena says:

    Big smile on my face right now 🙂 Lori, I have seen you in action and can say with 100% certainty that you are on point in your methods. You are consistent. I see your sweet girls test you, I see your reaction, and then I see theirs. You are a fabulous mother and wife. Your family is blessed to have such an amazing woman to love and nurture them. As you have also seen, our sweet Gavin tests Mike and I, and gets away with more than he should. I am taking notes…in fact, remember the other day when you and your girls picked up his toys before leaving and within seconds they were dumped into his toy chest? You will be happy to know that he sat there for an hour, putting all the toys back into the appropriate buckets. Getting him to do this was quite a battle.

    I grew up in a house where yelling got results (again, I was one of seven children). I do not want Gavin to have that same experience and have taken a softer approach. This is not working anymore. I had to get mean, and scary, but it worked! I would like to think that reasoning and conversation with Gavin could result in the same thing, but it simply does not. At least not at this stage of his life. I am realizing that tough love may be the best love of all.

  • Thank you so much for your comment, Tiffany!!

    Awesome job on seeking your own answers!! You ROCK! I love that kind of, get it done, attitude!

    I am really interested in learning more about the book you mentioned regarding communication. Communication is vital in all forms of relationships, parent to parent, parent to child, within siblings, etc. Mr. Tom and I ALWAYS talk about this…Dr. Annie too!

    I sometimes wish I were stronger in this area as I am guilty of letting my emotions rule me on occasion! (It must stem from my terrible teen years…lol!!) I know I could be a more effective partner and parent if I could sharpen my communication skills!!:)

    I did some research of my own yesterday and my inkling was right…children are most impressionable and develop their personalities within the first seven years of their lives! NOW is the time to be putting in the work, or we’re doomed:)!! DUN DUN DUN!!(Cheesy sound effect!)

    The girls have been angels thus far this morning, but the day is young! In addition, I am hopeful and rejuvenated today! As long as they can hold up their end of the bargain, we’re in good shape!

    Thanks again for your insight…it always feels good to know I’m not alone;)!!


    Btw, Lol regarding Super Nanny and 1.5 minutes is eternity:) Love it!!

  • You are the sweetest, Elena!! You give me far too much credit!!

    I <3 Gavin so much!! I have to say your family has been such a wonderful addition to our lives!!! Gavin is by far one of my favorite little people! I'm so proud of him for sorting his toys! (I'm so proud of you for making him do it!!) That is definitely one that would have been much easier to let slide! Prime example of sticking to your guns! You go Mama!! 🙂

    I too come from a house where yelling was common…I really try to implement a softer approach but unfortunately I often revert back to my roots. (Maybe this is why they listen most of the time, lol!) In all seriousness, sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get results whether it be a strong tone of voice, strict discipline, a softer approach…it boils down to figuring out what works and executing it!

    I <3 your "tough love may be the best love of all." You couldn't be more right! It just gave me even more motivation to stick to my guns today!! Still running smoothly thus far!


  • Shannon says:

    I’m much more strict with my children than most other parents. I’ve found that my older kids are to big now for spankings, and they don’t stay in time out…coming from a military family and being in the military myself at one time…I have found the use of physical activity as a punishment to be very affective with my 6 & 5 year old. I make them to push ups, leg lifts, wall sits etc whenever I need to get through to them that I’m serious. I don’t deal well with attitude and my kids know that…it doesn’t always stop them, but it often slows the attitude down because they know exactly what will come. I’ve also found that making children accountable for their own actions (telling them that if they choose to misbehave, then they choose to receive a specific punishment) has helped a lot!

  • Wow Shannon! That is an AWESOME idea! I absolutely am going to steal it!! It is totally a different approach than I have ever thought of. What a great way to implement some exercise for them too!

    Your tactic also got me thinking along the lines of housework or yard work. Someone’s got to pull the weeds; who better than a naughty child? 🙂

    It sounds like you run a pretty tight ship…your outlook on accountability reminds me of the quote, “Let the punishment fit the crime!” (I’m picturing your sons doing push ups as I write this! Lol) To learn accountability at a young age is essential in preparing them for the harsh realities of life. Kudos to your parenting methods!

    Thank you for your insight and for sharing your phenomenal discipline tips!!


  • sarah marks says:

    Lori love it!! I have a crew. As you know. I often feel pulled but persistence for sure. Kids need rules and boundaries they actually crave it. Just as we do. Just pick your battles wisely. It is everchanging. Say your prayers and know its just a season indeed. I know your kids. My impression Awsome job Mom!!!! So Fun Polite and Well Groomed!!!!! You Rock Mama!!!!!

  • Mama Lori says:


    Thanks so much for your words of wisdom and kudos!! You said it Mama, choose your battles!! You’re children are very polite as well, not to mention some of the cutest, most talented kids I’ve ever met!! I envy your dedication to your children and your community, as well as your great energy! Your children are truly blessed to have such an awesome Mama!! XOXOXO