I get asked often what my methods are.
I like creative and natural consequences best. Basically, I require obedience. If not, plan on me making thine life a wee bit miserable.
I’m kinda like a spoiled child. I get what I want. If I don’t, I throw a (grownup) sort of fit.
Without fussing. I just plot and plan to get my way. Don’t want to take trash out? Fine. Here, the garbage is full. Hold this. And this. And this, and this, and this. Don’t want to hold it? Fine. Take it out. Problem solved. I knew you wanted to do that for me.
Didn’t do the dishes when you were told? That dirty plate is far too dirty to use. You’ll have to wash those dishes before you plan to use another. Same for the bathroom. Thou shalt not leave a dirty bathroom space or brushing thy teeth out of doors may be on thy to-do list next time.
School must be done in an orderly fashion. Show me that you’re working hard and all is good. Prove that you aren’t and lunch shall be postponed until you accomplish what you ought.
I think there’s a time and a place for other sorts of discipline. My two year old can not understand some consequences, but he’s starting to. Fine, don’t put your pants on. (This is his theme.) Time to go outside? Mmm, nope. No bare butts shall be seen in my yard. Pants on? Fabulous. But still, he still needs other sorts of discipline at times. I’ll decide what punishment shall fit the crime, but quick is usually necessary for him. The older ones though… there’s a sharpie in my purse to make tally marks on the backs of their hand to remind me and them that we need to deal with disobedience when we’re out. To be honest, I write very few tally marks these days. They’ve learned. But for a lot of years, that was my method to keep a reminder in front of both of us that their obedience had been less than stellar and I needed to address each tally at home.
Attitudes are harder for me to find creative discipline – especially as they get older. A wise friend told me to create privileges for them that they enjoy. This way, I have, first of all, poured into them and helped foster that relationship, and second of all, I have leverage towards continuing to have things that motivate their obedience. As homeschool students, there’s not a ton of things that they have as privileges and things to look forward to. Grounding is only effective if there’s things to be grounded from. I’m still just getting my toes wet in the teen world with a 13 and a 14 year old, but it’s a whole different ball game. Far more reasoning and far less commands/consequences. I’m still trying to figure this one out. My biggest realization, as an introvert who is completely touched-out from caring for littles, is that teens need hugs. Lots of hugs. Lots of physical touch, like scratching their backs as you walk past and painting fingernails and toenails just for the fun of it. Pouring into them even when I’m exhausted is so hard, but so needed to keep their attitudes positive and for them to remember they are loved by this mother who they fail to see as wise or helpful or cool. I’m most definitely not cool in their eyes…
That’s my theories in a fifteen minute nutshell. I have much to learn. About the time I think I know what I’m doing, I learn that I most definitely do not. Mothering is hard. A process. Such a learning process. What do you do the same? Differently? Do you have tricks that have helped you along on this crazy road we’re on??!